The Rivencliffe Tales Part Four brought to you by
The Tangled Webby Life in the growing kingdom of Rivencliffe brings great pleasure to Lord Petrus. Copyright 2011, CDHein All Rights Reserved
Lord Petrus was feeling lucky that night. He’d been highly productive all day, passing edicts, planning political strategies, meeting with foreign dignitaries, and writing new laws. He’d even managed to fit in a highly successful hunt, as well. “Well, Emmet, old friend, I’m afraid tonight you are ruined.” Petrus held what was sure to be the winning card high before slapping it on the table. “Roll, my friend! Master Builder Emmet laughed in that deep voice of his. “My good king, I daresay I’ll be takin’ yer money off yer hands t’night.” Petrus smiled. Emmet was the one person in all the land he could truly relax around aside from his wife. He liked that Emmet treated him like any other man – with due respect.
His master builder picked up the dice and rolled. “C’moooon, golden touch! Open up the king’s money pouch fer me!” Petrus intently watched the dice dance and spin over the table until they came to a full stop.
Emmet’s roar of victory could be heard throughout the castle. “Ahaaaa! Yes! The golden touch has done it again!.” He gave a large grin at Petrus’ hanging head. “I guess I predicted right, m’lord. I’ll be havin’ that money now.”
“No!” Petrus threw a bag of coins on the table. “We go again! Double or nothing! If you win, you get double. If I win, I get nothing.” Emmet chuckled again. It was the way the game always went. “Now, Lord Petrus, I’ve got a few coin to share with ye. You don’t need to go givin’ me any grace.” “Can’t help it, old man, I’m just made that way.” Petrus grinned back at his friend and rolled the dice with a flourish. This time, it was the king’s turn to shout out in victory.
“Aaargh!” Emmet mockingly groaned and banged his head on the table. “You, my friend, are finished,” Petrus declared. But by the time Emmet’s head rose again, they were both laughing so hard they could hardly breathe. “How do you manage it, sire? Emmet asked when he could pull air into his lungs again. “I’m beginin’ ta think me lucky touch isn’t so lucky anymore.” Petrus clapped Emmet’s arm as they left the table. “I’ll let you win next time, if that will make it easier on you.” “Don’t you dare do that, Lord Petrus! I think we both know we like a good, honest game!” Petrus slipped a few coins into his friend’s pocket before heading upstairs to bed. Emmet was none the wiser. It was the way it had always gone with their games.
The next day, Petrus was hoping his luck would continue holding out as he stared down at the large slap of meat in his hands. He’d asked Grubbins, the pit keeper, to let him feed the stinking blue beast. He thought it would be a good demonstration of his bravery for the people. Besides, Grubbins always made it look so easy. Called the beast “Fluffy” of all things! But Petrus wasn’t so sure about his choice now as he started walking toward the pit. He felt more like he could be a human sacrifice.
Doing as Grubbins had instructed, he braced his feet, gave a sharp whistle, and threw the meat as high as he could up over the pit. A flash of blue and a whiff of something that made his stomach turn was the next thing Petrus saw â€“ but not before he heard the beast. The ferocious roar seemed to propel it up out of the mist below. It had as good an aim its mouth as Petrusâ€™ best knights had with their swords. It snapped onto the meat and roared again as if in victory.
Petrus stumbled backward, mumbling, “Nice Fluffy, good Fluffy, there you go,” amidst a shower of spit and errant pieces of meat. Heart in his throat, he backed off the planks and farther away from the pit monster. Satisfied, the vile blue thing disappeared as fast as it had shown itself. Petrus shuddered and walked away amid the clapping and cheering of the crowd. It was best he get back to the castle so they couldn’t see his pale, sweating face! At least the stunt seemed to have won him the approval he’d sought. But if he never had to see that monster up close again, he’d be happy.
It wasnâ€™t too long before Cara was showing signs of being with child again. Petrus was proud of himself for having fathered another babe so soon.
While Petrus strutted, Cara waddled everywhere she went, and Petrus thought she looked so big she may be carrying twins! They had a new physician in Rivencliffe who dutifully attended the queen and who assured the king that there was only one baby. Petrus was so concerned with her size that he actually angered her with too much loving attention. So he tried to divert himself with some hunting, instead.
His son, Prince Marston, was growing up quickly as well. It was time to move out the desk and move in a bed. Petrus commissioned the bed from Master Builder Emmet and he set right to working on it.
Finally, late one evening, just as the sun was setting, cries of a newborn could be heard across the kingdom. Sure enough, the physician had been right â€“ just one baby. But a beautiful baby! Cara had given him a little girl this time, whom they named Princess Stephanie. Life was full and rich in Rivencliffe.
~ The End ~