Chapter Five : The Beginning Of The End
Eleanor had seemed so sure of herself as she walked through the hallways quickly, with Sir Brandon behind her. She knew that all of the strength she possessed was needed to keep herself in check, and she had been preparing herself the whole way for the worst. She had always known that the day would come that her father would die, and she would rule, and for the past few years, that day had been growing even closer as his health began to decline. All of the time of preparation, however, was completely useless as she arrived at the door to her father’s chamber.
Standing outside of the double doors, Eleanor stared at the handle for a moment. When one of the two guards went to open it, she stopped his hand with her own. The guard simply looked at her for a moment, and their eyes met. The man simply nodded and pulled his hand away to resume his previous stance. Eleanor was about to walk into what could be her last moments as princess, and moving into the next stage of her life was something that she needed to attack on her own time and terms.
She could feel Sir Brandon standing behind her, his presence a comfort. What she really wanted was to have a few more moments to draw on his strength, but time was wasting away quickly. Nodding to herself and taking a deep breath, Eleanor reached forward and grasped the handle to the door. It opened easily, regardless of the weight, and she placed a mask of calmness on her face once she saw the image inside.
The room that had once been filled with books and a writing desk was now a room of a single bed with a single chair beside it for her mother. The walls had tables covered in medicines and blankets. It looked entirely too much like a sick room, and not enough like the room of a monarch. Her mother sat gray faced in the chair beside the bed, both of her hands holding one of her father’s. All of the physicians stood to the side, as medicine had been unable to cure her father. A simple Healer, dressed in the classic robes, now stood over her father’s body, praying for guidance and cures from Nature. Eleanor knew it was no use. If the Goddess had not cleansed her father yet, she was not going to step in now.
Her father was the worst sight of all. The disease that had ravaged his body had left him a frail image of the strong man he had once been. A warrior first and diplomat second, he had led his army to numerous victories along the border. She had spent many days of her childhood watching him train and ride to war, spending the last moments before his departure upon his war horse or his shoulders. It was hard to imagine that this was the same man.
His thin frame was propped up on numerous pillows and his skin seemed to sag on his face, which was the only part of him exposed, save for the hand held by his wife, from under the blankets. His skin was very pale and his hair was roughly cut to keep from growing too long. The breaths that came out were harsh and ragged, and Eleanor prayed that they would not stop coming. His gray eyes opened slowly at the sound of the door, and when their eyes met, his eyes lit up for a moment.
Pulling his hand from his wife’s, King Juan made a motion with it. A physician walked up quickly with a goblet, and held it to his lips. The king took a few sips before leaning back from it. His mouth opened as though to speak, but all that came out was a few harsh coughs. Eleanor tried to not flinch in response.
“Child,” he said simply, in acknowledgement to her arrival. Queen Isabella looked up from where she had been sitting to see that her daughter arrived, and extended one of her now free hands to Eleanor. Eleanor walked to her mother quickly and took the outstretched hand before sitting gracefully on the edge of the bed. Her father reached forward to take first the open queen’s hand and then reached for Eleanor’s other hand. Eleanor reached her hand towards her father’s to save him the movement, and for a moment, the family sat there in silence.
Eleanor glanced at her mother, who’s eyes looked red and puffy, as though they had been crying. No tears came now, however, and Eleanor had to guess that her mother was all cried out. There was only so long that a woman could cry before there was simply nothing left except to wait. Even if her mother was done crying, Eleanor knew that her tears would soon be flowing.
|Hayley Atwell||as Eleanor|
|Richard Armitage||as Sir Brandon|
|Henry Cavill||as Prince Alexander|
|Bradley James||as Duke Phillip|
|Joseph Fiennes||as Duke William|