Oct 3
The coronation rehearsal does not go as planned

As soon as Geoffries finishes tightening all the straps and mantling all the articles of clothing, including my favorite emerald green side cloak, I begin my search of the castle for the Steward. Am I really betrothed to be married to this Princess, a girl no doubt that I have never met let alone know? It all seems a little unorthodox. I grab some yoghurt and fruit mixed in a silver cup inlaid with magical stones that darken my hands in a deep purple shadow. I snack on it as I examine the furniture and decorations in the salon like a forensic. The Earl catches me off guard when he enters from the hallway. 
    “Prince Jess! How lovely it is to see you not only awake and well, but arraigned so beautifully! I do say your cloak befits your lordship quite well. You make me a jealous man, remembering my days as a reckless youth seeking adventure and power!” he raises an imaginary saber. 
    I wish I could share his sentiment.
    “It is another good day today, is it not, Earl?” I say.
    He wags his finger at me.
    “Now, your lordship should not tell lies. Tell me how you really feel,” he condemns.
    “I really do think the wind has calmed and so has the temperature. Frightfully cold yesterday!” I reply.
    He nods his head in approval, as if he got the truth out of me.
    “I believe we have quite the rehearsal for you. Preparations for your coronation, you know. They say someone important is coming just for the rehearsal, unfortunately detained for the actual coronation,” he says.
    My father comes in with his hands in the air. 
    “If I had a white flag, I would make sure it was waving furiously. Don’t attack,” he pleads.
    I want to wipe the smile off his face. The Earl glances  at the both of us and then excuses himself without a word into the sun room. 
    “What is this about me being betrothed to Princess Armada?!” I yell.
    “Princess Amanda,” he coughs.
    I roll my eyes.
    “I was never informed this was required,” I shout.
    “Now listen to yourself!” he replies cheerfully.
    He finds it terribly amusing, but I am finding wrestling him to the ground an incredible temptation.
    “This has been the tradition of millennia to have the king be married. We’ve just changed the formula slightly by crowning the King at fifteen and having him be engaged instead of married. I think you will agree that that is agreeable,” he justifies himself.
    “If this is your sort of joke as Steward before I have any power over you, it is in poor taste!” I respond.
    “On the contrary! She is a lovely young lady, I’d marry her myself if it weren’t for my age,” he admits.
    I’m aghast.
    “I’m really just trying to convince you it isn’t as bad as you think. Yes, you and her are betrothed to be married and will be officially engaged to her at your coronation — ” he continues.
    “What? Engaged?!” I interject.
    He puts a finger to his lips and shushes me, and then he laughs heartily.
    “I haven’t even gotten to the best part, you cry baby,” he chuckles, “She will also move in to the West wing of your new castle in Central Garden as good will for your future marriage.”
    I throw my arms out in front of me and grunt in helplessness. He mimics me, throwing his arms out in front of him as well.
    “You can get married whenever you like, or, you can even get engaged to someone else in the meantime, but there can’t be any gap or overlap between engagements,” then under his breath, “And you can’t be having any secret rendezvous with any girl either so that could be frightfully difficult . . . ”
“It really isn’t all that bad,” they say.
    I punch Hugo in the arm, he has the beefiest arm so he can take it.
    “Oh, really? Have you ever talked to a girl?” I ask.
    “As much as any of us, once or twice when they have been permitted to visit,” Hugo rubs his arm.
    The others nod as if it settled the matter. I shake my head in despair.
    “We’re doomed. I can’t even begin to comprehend what politics are involved with girls. It has to be a diplomatic nightmare,” I sigh.
    From when we were children my friends have always been with me. We’re as thick as thieves, we are, and I suspect the same has been for this Princess Armada. She’s probably had a posse of girls, her little personal club to paint nails, play with dolls and whatever the heck else girls do.
    “They probably pretend to get married to older guys, knights, who swear to protect them forever. They probably even get their servants to dress up and pretend for the marriage ceremony . . . ” I ramble.
    Menelaus taps me on the shoulder with a brilliant smile on his face.
    “Wanna see?” he asks.
    Before he even lets me respond he conjures the viewing portal. A group of girls are sitting like we are, some on a field of grass and others on a picnic table with some snacks. I get shy all of a sudden even though I know they can’t see us. The one in the middle of the group slumped on the edge of a bench I assume is the princess. They look ragged.
    “They are definitely gross, and we’ll have to fight over the disgusting boys of his gang to stay with you in his castle!” one of the girls laments.
    The princess hugs her.
    “I will never let him make you go away!” she promises.
    “She likes . . . baseball,” interjects Geoff.
    “What?” Montgomery snickers. 
    “They are probably pretending to be knights and practicing saving us from danger,” another girl spits.
    A shiver goes up my spine.
    “Unbelievable,” I say.
    “And she likes fishing . . . ” Geoff continues.
    “Show us, Ophelia. Show us what they are doing now,” one shouts.
    Menelaus scrambles, but can’t get the portal closed.
    “Okay,” says a girl I presume is Ophelia. 
    “Close it Men!” shouts Hugo.
    The girls look as a portal opens to us looking at a portal of them. I’m paralyzed. No one moves a muscle, though everyone’s eyes get larger.
    “This is truly unfortunate,” I clip.
    The princess stands up and puts her hands on her hips as everyone else remains statues.
    “I’ll say,” she says.
    Hugo uncouthly interrupts the awkward silence. 
    “Behold the infinite portals we have created! Pretty spectacular, neh?” he asks rhetorically.
    Just then Men closes our portal. Hugo goes to say something and I put a finger over his mouth.
    I get up with a purpose. Men points to the space near a tree where their portal is and I walk up to it.
    “You will be happy to note that we had opened the portal only moments before you opened yours. As we have since closed ours, would you be so kind as to close yours?” I request.
    All of a sudden Geoffries appears in front of us.
    “Missile from ma’lady, sire: No, stop. ‘ey are called peepin’ Toms not peepin’ Tesses, stop. I ‘ffer condolences, your lordship, on behalf of the lady. ’Tis a harsh missile indeed,” he says. 
    “You have the incredible ability of pronouncing complicated words as if they were simple and practically skipping over the simple ones, Geoffries,” I respond.
    “Very good, sir,” he says as he vanishes.
I survey the decorations for the coronation in the chapel. The chapel is both a supple and shiny thing on a normal day as it is gilt with reddish wood buffed to a soft shimmer as opposed to a mirror. Then gold leaf follows a rather minimalist pattern of stripes, squares and stars with many borders and slight variations on the shapes. The stained glass windows also follow the same style with every other stripe colored red and the boxes colored blue. In the overlap of the shapes, a purple coloration is used, but the star always cancels out any color as if a white object on top of layers of glass. 
    For my coronation, however, semipermanent installations were built so that now it is even more extravagant than usual. The pews are in three sections longwise and two widewise, making four cubbies. The cubbies have the longer stained glass windows that stretch from just above the floor to the ceiling, forming a peak at the top. Statues were commissioned to stand in front of the windows. All are close copies of each other, a handsome bald eagle with a luxurious crown on his head, an earth in one claw and a scepter in the other. His talons are long and mature, clutching majestically on the globe and the magic staff. He shifts every now and again and sometimes screeches, acting like a real eagle with incredible selfcontrol. 
    Floating above the pews but leaving the view of the altar at the apse unobstructed are thousands of lights in the shape of the North American fivepointed star, shedding a soft white light on the dim chapel. Then at the altar there is a lavish backdrop of flowers, verdant branches and other beautiful greenery. Pears, apples, and other fruit or nuts act as weights on the plants, giving the whole scene a sense of flowing in and out like water. 
    A loud thud from the back of the chapel breaks my revelry. The thud is followed by a sudden influx of voices eagerly chatting away. I turn around to see not only the Steward and the Earl, but also the boys. They keep talking as they walk up to me and then the Earl turns to address me. 
    “Ready for a good oldfashioned rehearsal, ma’lord?” he asks.
    “Sure,” I shrug.
    “Well then go outside and put on your coronation outfit and then we will announce you as we would in the actual ceremony,” he laughs.
    I walk down the aisle and exit the open door as a slew of servants with instruments dressed as an orchestra pass. I conjure up the dress designed, fitted and woven specifically for the event and Geoffries appears to don it on me. It is essentially in concept a puff meant to make me look more adult and meaty. In practice, though, it is tight on the body in all the right places and is a bright white with pastel shades symmetrically placed along the suit. White plastic pauldrons sit breathlessly on my shoulders whilst an exceedingly long cape floats extended just above the floor. 
    I hear a flourish of string instruments and then the low base of a cello and the organ that sits just above the altar. The music gives a sense of vitality and experience.
    “Geoffries, whoever composed the music should be commended,” I say.
    He nods his head in obedience and then the doors open. I walk gracefully down the aisle as my friends snicker. I smile slightly, which the Earl erases with a snap of his finger. I then walk up to the altar and wait. After a few seconds the music ends and then silence ensues. Geoffries appears beside me.
    “Missile from ma’lady is thus: Bow, my future fiance,” he dictates slowly.
    I get red in the face. She has been watching this whole time? I turn around aimlessly.
    “Really? Did you really have to watch me all this time?”
    The Earl and the Steward look at each other quizzically. The boys break out laughing, almost into tears. Hugo falls off his pew laughing. Before he leaves Geoffries pulls out another note.
    “Forgive me sire. She says, haha haha hahahahaha!” he laughs.
I turn and walk out of the chapel in a fit.