The Bastard House of Oz
Benjamin, the young Duke of Oz, sat, his face pondered his options. The cigarette he was smoking was clenched between his thumb and forefinger of his left hand. His right hand was grasping a large glass of wine; he regularly altered the pattern of taking a swig of wine and a drag of his cigarette. He was not alone in his private chambers; he never liked to be, though usually he kept the company of a young lady of a night time, whereas tonight the only company he was keeping was that of his loyal servant and friend Richard. Richard had cared for Benjamin since he was but a child, he had been there for him throughout the most important days in the young boy’s life.
At the current moment in time, Richard was trying to explain to Benjamin why he would never be allowed to be King and rule Revilo Ronaele. The young Duke was finding it difficult to contemplate, as the oldest male; he always assumed he would be the next King. It was not until recently he had been informed that his young brother Duke Philip of Oiland would be the next ruler of their Kingdom.
“But what they, what will happen when my dear Father grows old, when he can no longer run our country with the power and fairness he is most respected for, what then?”
“Then young Duke Philip will wear the crown your Father once did, he will wear it well and he will do you rather proud, my Prince,” Richard said softly.
“But I am the oldest son, it is my duty to become the King, surely you do not think that the little brat could do a better job than I?”
“No of course not, but Benjamin, you must understand it is not my place, even voicing my opinion I speak out of turn, your Highness,”
“It is my God given right; I will have to step up to the mark. I will need to become the man his Majesty is now; I will not be able to do such a thing. What will I do?” He demanded, pausing once to take a long drag of his cigarette. “Will I kneel in front of Philip and swear that I will always serve him and acknowledge him as my liege Lord?”
“It will be your duty to sweat your allegiance to your brother, you will accept him as the King otherwise it will be high treason, son,”
“I know, I know,” Benjamin sighed loudly.
Richard knew the real reason Benjamin was not permitted to inherit the throne, and deep down, Benjamin knew it too. The Duke looked different to his brother and sister, Philip and Matilda, both had long blonde hair and the prettiest blue eyes, whilst his sister Charlotte and him had hair the colour of coal and eyes the deepest green, though Charlotte always wore a veil to hide the darkness of her hair. Benjamin was sure he was not his Father’s child, just as sure as he was that he was in fact his Mother’s son. That made him a bastard in the eyes of everyone. He had heard them call his Empire the Bastard House of Oz, everyone called it that. He was the bastard son, and now he would never be King.
“And besides, you have a far bigger problem to worry about, have you not?” Richard asked. Benjamin knew what his loyal gentleman was talking about. He did not want to face the horrific truth. The gentlemen of Oz were known for being generous, the were famed across all of Revilo Ronaele for throwing luxury parties where so much alcohol was consumed and music played loudly all night long, they were also known for their love of women, especially those who were not their own wives.
Benjamin had not married young, unlike his sister Charlotte; he felt he needed a woman at his side constantly, someone who was always there for him through thick and thin, though he did not want to commit to just one woman to satisfy him. Instead of choosing to court someone his parents approved of, a good decent woman from a respectable home, but he was still furious for his Father for refusing to include him in the succession to the throne, he chose a woman called Stephanie, he was well aware that she too was no angel when they began seeing each other as more than friends. Benjamin was well aware she had taken lovers, and he did not mind for he too had taken many women on the side of his public relationship with Stephanie, who was his wife, in all but name.
The problem the young Duke was facing was that his latest lover, a maid who served in his household, had fallen with child. Something which he had never had to deal with before, thankfully none of his women had ever fallen with a child before.
“I often feel that my blood does not bleed blue,”
“Your blood bleeds the bluest, Sir,” Richard said. “You are the son of a King, you are a royal Prince, a Duke in your own right, you will never be King but you will be such a wonderful ruler,”
“But that is not enough. I want to be King,”
“I have told you, Sir that is not possible, your Father made you sign away your rights to the throne years ago, in return he would not present you…” Richard paused; he was not sure how to phrase the next part.
“Present me as what? The Bastard House of Oz, oh please I know what people say about me. Especially my dear sister Charlotte,”
“My Lord, you sister means not to slander your good name,”
“Oh she means it alright, she means to point the finger away from herself and her jet black hair that she so cleverly hides with a veil, she pretends to want to protect her modesty but all she wants to protect is her own name,”
“Please good Benjamin, I beg you go and rest you head, you cannot think when you are in such a way,” Richard nodded towards the wine.
“Very well, but you mark my words, I will be King one day, if it is the last thing I do!” he exclaimed slamming the wine glass down on the floor in an act of passion.
“Very good Sir, I will have someone come and clean that awful mess up before it stains,” Richard said calmly, he bowed and then made a swift exit. He could not stand to be around his Master when he got an awful idea.