Brayden was in shock at the announcement that Quinlan had just made. He didn’t even have time to react as Quinlan gripped him by the back of the neck and slammed their mouths together sealing both their fates until the wedding ceremony could be performed at tonight’s banquet.
“What have you done you crazy fool?” Brayden whispered against Quinlan’s lips. His hands fisted in Quinlan’s tunic as if afraid to let go... Not as if... he was afraid to let go. He was afraid of losing Quinlan all over again.
“Just reclaiming what was always mine. You should never have been taken from me. Your uncle had no right taking you away from me.”
Quinlan and Brayden broke apart as a hush fell over the crowd. Turning Brayden claimed Quinlan’s hand as Ormand and his uncle stepped onto the balcony and walked towards them. Hatred and disgust filled both of their eyes as they stopped in front of them.
Brayden braced himself, he saw his uncle’s fists were clenched so tight that this knuckles were white. Stepping in front of Quinlan, Brayden braced himself for the blow that he knew was coming; he had been on the receiving end of them too many times before, not to know that his uncle was pissed beyond belief at the realisation that his plan had fallen apart. Even more so that Brayden was now out from under his thumb. He almost groaned when Quinlan placed his hand against the small of his back in comfort before stepping around him.
“Lord Dalziel,” Quinlan bowed in the man’s direction. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?”
“This marriage will be but a sham,” Lord Dalziel spat in anger. “As King you are meant to produce an heir. How will you do that being married to my nephew?” Lord Dalziel turned and addressed the crowd. “I call for the vote of challenge before this abomination of a marriage can be allowed to be formalised.” He was shocked when Quinlan started laughing.
Quinlan turned towards the castle doors and motioned to the young man that stood there to step forward. “Lord Dalziel, I am sure you recognise Cleric Saskia?”
Lord Dalziel looked confused so Quinlan continued. “Cleric Saskia, can you please explain to Lord Dalziel why that law is not required for my ruling.”
“As you wish Highness,” Cleric Saskia nodded. “King Rothwell knowing that his son’s heart lay not with the young maidens decreed a law that Prince Quinlan had to pick a woman to be surrogate for his children. The surrogate Lady Arella was chosen and has since given birth to two beautiful boys. Killian and Larkin Macallister have been recorded as the next in line for the throne after the rule of their father.”
Quinlan noticed that the cleric moved back out of Lord Dalziel’s way as soon as he had finished speaking.
“You see Lord Dalziel; there is no cause for the vote of challenge,” Quinlan smiled. “I think my sons are going to love their new father as much as I have always done.”
“I still say the vote of challenge is a just call... A kingdom cannot be ruled by the abomination that you are suggesting.” Lord Dalziel was so furious that Quinlan could see the spittle fly from his mouth as he screamed that out.
“ENOUGH!!!” Quinlan roared. “You have no right telling me who I can and cannot love. There is no law that states I must have a woman at my side to rule our people. The law is written that I must choose the one person that will make me a stronger ruler.” Quinlan looked out over the crowd that was watching in rapt attention to what was taking place.
“I have chosen Brayden Caldwell. There are no, ifs, ands, or buts... You do not get to have a say in who I choose. No one here does.” Quinlan shook his head sadly, “You may not agree with my choice... but it is my choice. Cleric Saskia has by now already recorded my choice in co-ruler.” Quinlan placed his hands on the balustrade and leaned forward.
“As such, you will all treat him the respect that is due his new position. If I find that anyone... and I mean anyone has disrespected him in any way then they will be brought before me for judgement.”
Stepping back from the edge he said to Lord Dalziel and Ormand. “If that is all, then I have no further use for you. You may leave our presence.” He made to turn away and stopped. “OH and there will be no need for either of you to attend the Marriage ceremony tonight.”
“This is not over.” Lord Dalziel hissed in his direction.
“Then you would be mistaken,” Quinlan took a hold of Brayden’s hand and walked into the castle leaving behind their unwanted guests standing on the now vacated Balcony.