The situation before and the opening disturbance
Prince Philip enjoyed the holidays as most people. He ate too much, drank too much, and visited with his immediate and extended family, which consisted of his father and step-mother, King Horatio and Queen Ismelda, his younger by ten years sister, Edwina, and his Uncle Tony and his family. All was as it should have been with the exception of one small incident, quickly forgotten by most of the participants. But it chaffed Philip like a sticker caught in a sock.
The capital city of X was beautiful in the winter with the pink and silver marble of the castle walls reflecting the bright sunlight down on to the modest-sized city that sat by the water of Lake X. The snow capped mountains to the north balanced the scene. Philip was out visiting his horse, Gaston, at the stables and was considering a ride when his cousin Anthony the Second, or little Tone, joined him. Little Tone was a misnomer for his cousin, who was a year older, had grown to be a giant of a man with a large girth and meaty hands. Little Tone was also a bully and Philip had always been a target. But Philip was grown now – going to university and set to inherit an estate all of his own while he learned statecraft at his father’s side.
Little Tone didn’t bother with pleasantries and got right down to being mean.
“Your mother didn’t want you to have that horse, you know.”
“Oh?” Gaston, a prized X warhorse, had been a gift for Philip’s 16th birthday.
“She thought you would be better suited by one of the palfreys that Y breeds. It’d be more suited to your delicate temperament.”
“Somehow I doubt that, Little Tone,” Philip replied with more calm that he actually possessed. He finished tightening up the cinch on Gaston’s saddle. Gaston grunted.
“She knew you were a , with your music and your poetry. You were never really good with a sword. Why would you need a fine warhorse? You were going off to that arts university to learn the finer things.”
“While you went off to military school to learn how to be a killer. Yes, I know.”
Little Tone frowned
“Tell you what, cuz, I’ll trade you. I have a nice horse, fit for a lady of your stature, with a smooth gate. Give me Gaston and you can have her.”
Philip had something pity to say about that.
And I’m out of time.