Summer had passed and Fall was in full swing when the queen began to feel restless. She wanted to wander through the neighboring villages to see what kind of entertainment she could find. She'd heard some interesting tales about a posh lady's retreat that she wanted to check on. It was reported to have the most beautiful lawns in the realm, and the building was said to have an elegant charm of its own.

Calling her coachman, she gave him instructions to ready her carriage. After receiving his orders the coachman replied meekly, "Yes your highness," and quietly slipped out the door to fulfill his tasks.

Upon her arrival to the lady's retreat the queen was disappointed to find that a very tall fence surrounded the estate, and the lawns were in a sad state of neglect. The once grand estate was falling down around itself. What to do? The queen was put out that she couldn't view the entire estate. But thinking quickly she decided that she would take a self guided tour around the property. The queen was so awestruck by the beauty of the architecture that she simply ignored the large "Keep Out" signs on the fence and proceeded with determination. She MUST have pictures to show all her friends. She simply couldn't leave and have nothing to show for her effort. So she began painting pictures of the estate to share with them, being careful to avoid getting the large signs in any of them.

Once the queen was safely back in her own castle she called her most trusted maid servants to her chambers so she could brag of her exploits in the neighboring kingdom. "See how badly the place has run down? If only we could get someone to realize the value of the history behind it, maybe we could save it." she explained.

Since the only ones in the room were servants that she trusted, the queen divulged her secret about the "Keep Out" signs that had been on the fence. "I didn't think anyone would notice if I just quietly wandered around the place so I could paint my pictures," she giggled. "Besides, no one lives there anymore. It's all falling apart and all I did was walk around the outside. I didn't go in, so in a sense I did keep out, and I didn't damage anything while I was there so it's ok," she ended with a smile.

What no one seemed to notice was the peasant that happened to be walking by just outside the window of the queen's chamber, and overheard everything that had been said. Though the peasant said nothing, the thoughts were screaming through his head. "Here is a queen that breaks her own laws! After all, isn't it a law here that no one shall enter a castle without permission? Does this set a good example for the royal subjects? Or is this another case of do as I say, not as I do?" he wondered to himself.

Scratching his head the peasant continued on his way to market to meet his friends. Once there he spotted them talking to a group of people. Not knowing who these people were he felt hesitant to relate the story of what he'd heard, but his friends told him that it was ok to talk in front of them. So he related the whole tale to his friends with his question thrown in when he finished. "If the king or queen do something that is contrary to the laws they have set down, isn't that still breaking the law? Or does it only apply to the subjects in the kingdom?"

No one in the crowd could adequately answer the question and soon the conversation turned to other things and it was forgotten by most. But the rebels who were listening closely to the story from a nearby bench remembered and felt the king and queen were wrong for setting down laws then breaking them whenever it suited them while punishing any subject that should do the same.

Winter approached and everything to do with the trip to the lady's retreat seemed to be left behind and forgotten. "Oh good, the rebels didn't hear about our trip to the lady's retreat," crowed the queen to the king. "If they had heard I'm sure they would have started an uprising."

"What do you mean OUR trip dearest? I didn't go. Remember? I was busy here taking care of the kingdom treasury when you went." laughed the king.

Nothing more was said about the trip by either of the royal couple and it was quickly forgotten because the king and queen had plans to complete for yet another royal ball. Which of course the peasants would have to pay dearly to attend. Anything to refill the treasury. The royal store was not working out as well as the royal couple had hoped. Too many of the peasants had no money to pay to sit by the fireside and listen to tales of times gone by. And the tours of the kingdom were getting a bit boring for them too. After all, they had hired the faithful peasants to learn their scripts and lead the tours which left nothing for the king and queen to do but supervise.

So all through the winter the king and queen spent hours pouring over every scrap of news and every picture to find another spot to host a tour so they could rejuvenate the cash flow into their silken purses.

When spring arrived the king and queen were suffering from "cabin fever" so to speak. They wanted to expand their kingdom and make it grow. Who cares if the land belonged to someone else. It would belong to them now. They desperately wanted to get out and lay claim to their new land, but they were so afraid that they would run into the rebels at any given corner. What to do about this dilemma?

"I think we should make everyone aware of the wrong doings of the rebels. That should make them run for cover in the forest and leave us alone" the queen demanded.

"But what will we tell our subjects about this time?" questioned the king. "The rebels have been quiet all winter. They haven't been doing anything we can use against them."

"They may not have been out doing anything recently, but they have done SOMETHING!" snarled the queen. "And I want the whole kingdom to know what they've done. Why, just last year they were sharing their knowledge of our most precious, secret cave in the whole kingdom. And we didn't give them permission to do that! They are STILL giving people directions how to get there and drawing them a map so they can go find it on their own."

With that thought rattling around in their heads, the king and queen called their trusted servants to set things in motion. Peace would be found in their kingdom at any cost.

"Thou shalt not enter any castle without permission!" declared the queen with a roar to the crowd of trusty servants and merchants. "That includes going to any place in our kingdom without getting our approval. And those rebels have gone ahead and taken people to visit our most precious secret cave without our permission! Now there are vandals destroying our cave."

"But your majesty, the secret cave doesn't fall within your kingdom boundaries" one servant protested.

"We've claimed it! It's OURS!" screamed the queen, getting red in the face. "Never mind that it belonged to someone else. It belongs to us now! We've put our claim to it, that makes it ours."

"Correct me if I'm wrong your majesties, but didn't you, yourselves go out there with a group that brought along their town crier last year? And didn't they repeatedly announce the existance of the cave to everyone that came within ear shot?" questioned a valued servant.

Stammering profusely the queen shot a dirty look at the offending servant and muttered, "but that wasn't our fault. We told them not to tell anyone where it was. We told them not to tell who took them."

"That's right!" said the king for emphasis, to defend his queen. "We were assured that this group would not reveal our identity or the location of the cave. It isn't our fault if they lied to us."

Another servant took up the gauntlet and continued with the questions. "But the group didn't tell where it was exactly. I've heard the town crier's tale. Couldn't we blame the vandalism on the rebels to make them look really bad?After all, they do provide maps and directions to find your most precious secret cave."

Delighted with the idea the queen jumped up from her chair and began pacing the royal conference chamber. "Yes that's it," she cheered. "The rebels are to blame for everything. It's THEIR fault! We will wash our hands of the whole cave and pretend we were never there. No one will know that we are partly to blame for the mess," she continued.

Meanwhile, word of the vandals made it to the rebels and they were saddened at the acts of those who could not appreciate the beauty and awe of the once magnificent cave. Quietly the rebels set about making plans for trying to restore the cave to its former beauty and splendor.The king and queen went blissfully unaware of the rumbling of dissent within their own kingdom while the rebels began preparations for their work in silence.

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three

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Copyright 1998-2005 by George & Cathy Brady, Hamilton Paranormal