“Tell us the story Papa,” little Matilda begged as she sat on the floor by the fire.
The family were huddled close to the roaring fire for warmth, though their housing was better than they had been used to it still was not fit for the newly crowned King and his young family.
“You want to hear that old story again?” their Father asked he glanced across their sitting room to the child’s Mother who had looked up from her sewing.
“Yes go on Father,” Philip exclaimed he bounced up and down on his knees.
“Oh please Papa,” Charlotte asked, she placed her hands on top of her Father’s.
“Oh no, I couldn’t, you children do not want to hear such old tales,”
“But they are important tales,” Eleanor said softly. “They are tales of our lives, our children love to hear them, do you not children?”
“We do, we do,” they chorused.
“Go on Father,” Benjamin, the oldest child begged.
Oliver looked at the pleading faces of his four children. They each looked at him with large eyes and pouting lips, he could not resist.
“Alright, alright, but only because I love you all so much,” Oliver smiled. He folded the corner of his page and placed his book on the small table that always sat next to his favourite arm chair. “Where shall I begin?” he asked, waiting for them to chant the answer.
“At the very beginning,” they all shouted together.
“Well, to start at the very beginning, it would have to be the first day we decided we would leave the land of Thorpeness-Hythe,”
“That’s where we used to live,” Charlotte said knowingly, she smiled sweetly at her Papa, waiting for him to praise her for her knowledge.
“That’s wright Darling, that is where you and Benjamin and Philip were born, but not baby Matilda,” Oliver exclaimed. Suddenly he jumped from his chair and fell to his knees so he could scoop up his littlest daughter Matilda into his arms. The other children huddled round him desperate to hold onto him and to be a part of the story. Oliver sat Matilda upright and placed her onto his knee. From the corner of his eye he could see the dirty look Charlotte was giving her little sister, but he decided to ignore it.
“It’s where all the people of Revilo Ronaele used to live,” He continued. “But there was a very bad man who was in charge of Thorpeness-Hythe,”
“King Alfred,” the children interrupted.
“The mean old King Alfred and why was he bad?” Oliver asked.
Benjamin’s hand shot up into the air. “Because he was fighting with his brother, King Adam of Bebra,”
“And that was bad because lots of people were dying, lots of our people Papa,” Charlotte said quickly.
“Hundreds of lives have been lost, family homes have been destroyed and with no sign of the war ending the poor people of Thorpeness-Hythe were looking for a safe refuge, somewhere they could live safely without having to worry about guns, or constantly looking over their shoulders through fear of attack.”
“So we decided to lead people to a better life,” Eleanor said. “Just the people who we lived near, the poor people,”
“It was alright for the rich people, they could afford to protect themselves, to arm their staff with knives, and guns and swords, to hire the best soldiers to shield their homes and families from the invading soldiers. It was the poorer folks like us who had nothing, no money to hire guards, no vast amounts of land to set up a safe bunker; they were alone, well apart from each other.” Oliver pulled his children closer to himself. He beckoned for Eleanor to come and sit on the floor with them; she did so carefully and gracefully.
“It was that sense of alone that bound them together,” Oliver and Eleanor said together, his hand slipped into hers and they sat there for a few moments as a family, as the new royal family of Revilo Ronaele.