MUSINGS OF A MARRIAGEABLE WOMAN
"Oh, Prince Adam! I had forgotten how beautiful the palace was. But then again," the raven haired beauty continued as she smiled coyly, "When one is so young one hardly appreciates the fine things before them."
Lady Velora of the Kingdom of Porras had spent several visits during her youth accompanying her mother, chief council to the King of Porras, on numerous diplomatic visits throughout Eternia. An only child, her father had perished in the early stages of the Horde Wars when she was only months old, so her mother raised her alone. Through her mother Velora saw the vastness that was Eternia and its cultures, learned the intricacies of court and diplomacy and most importantly to Velora, she learned how to manipulate situations to work towards her advantage. By all accounts Lady Velora of Porras would make anyone a fine wife and a valuable asset to any kingdom. But while the elder Porras representative was a seasoned statesman and a shrewd negotiator, in years past her daughter was far more content playing in the gardens with the king's only son and heir, Prince Adam.
Their recent return to Eternos after a 10 year absence brought back a Velora far less interested in playing hide and seek in the gardens but in finders keepers with a potential husband. The men in her life had failed to capture her interest for very long. They all eventually bored her and it wasn't until she laid eyes on her old childhood friend, the crowned prince of Eternia, that Velora set her romantic sights on Adam. Velora was well aware of her charms. So while King Randor finished up with some other business and her mother caught up with Queen Marlena, Velora had prepared to present herself in the best light possible and use those skills she had learned over the years on a more entertaining and equally important endeavor--the handsome, young prince. And handsome he was, the years had been kind to Prince Adam.
No longer the scrawny, young boy she remembered but a tall, broad-shouldered man with piercing blue eyes and ruggedly handsome features. Yet for everything that had changed in Adam, Velora was pleased to discover that other things had not. Adam smiled just as easily as he did so many years ago and that shock of blonde hair was just as unruly as it was when he was a boy. Some things time does not change. Unfortunately for Velora the same could be applied to Teela, the Prince's childhood best friend and presently his personal body guard. Velora remembered Teela as the fiery-haired tomboy that traded good natured barbs with the prince. She had a quick tongue and that as well had not diminished with time.
Teela, Captain of Eternia's Royal Guard, quite an achievement for someone so young. Velora had nothing but admiration for the young woman. She herself had first hand experience on trying to find equal footing where men tend to dominate. But while Velora would sometimes overty wear her gender to put those she antagonized at ease, it appeared that Teela disregarded the very same femininity she possessed. It's a shame really. Teela was quite pretty. If you liked the dominant Arcadian type.
"That's what happens when a woman has no suitable feminine influence," mused Velora. "Poor dear, raise a young girl like a man and don't act surprised when she fails to make a match."
But she's getting ahead of herself. What Velora should be doing is not pondering about Teela's potential or lack of male suitors but in assuring the Captain of the Guard that her prince was safe in Velora's company, not to mention getting rid of her.
"There have been some changes since you last visited us, Velora, but I see them as changes for the better," commented the Prince, jarring her out of her musings, as he and Teela led her on a tour of their old childhood haunt--the Royal Gardens.
"Yes indeed," Velora muttered to herself softy, much to the prince's obliviousness.
It did not, however, escape the attention of the Captain of the Guard as she rolled her eyes at Velora's comment.
"We've been blessed with an onslaught of new, cool and shady spots in recent years. They're perfect for late afternoon naps and in a pinch, for avoiding Teela's weapons training."
At this Teela's attention perked up. "Adam, I'm proud of you. The first step towards getting help is admitting you have a problem. Now we can try and find the source to your fear of all things work," she teased.
To this the prince laughed. "I admit nothing Captain. I was merely pointing out to Velora a theoretical situation that would potentially monopolize perfect daytime weather."
"Yes well if you ask me," interrupted Velora as she tightened her grasp of Adam's arm in complete appreciation of his athletic build. "I'm sure the Prince is more than capable of holding his own in battle should the need arise. Unfortunately not all of us can be accomplished warriors like He-Man or you Captain. Some of us were born for battle and some of us were born to serve more diplomatic callings."
Velora had not intended her statement as a challenge but apparently Teela had.
"Oh I don't know about that. We're all born with certain talents that we either nurture or not but that doesn't mean that our destinies are determined by our parents. I think that with the proper training we can either refine those natural talents or create new ones."
"Expose someone to an environment that teaches certain skills and codes of conduct and they'll eventually begin to live that lifestyle. We are who we are in part because of the way we were raised," continued the Prince as he caught on with Teela's reasoning.
"Partially...yes. It's too bad father didn't start training you when you were younger. It's already in you Adam. The King served Eternia in battle before the Elders called upon him to rule. And your mother, from what I do know, it takes a remarkable person to pursue the unknown the way she did. That says a great deal about the potential you had as a warrior if your training had started at a younger age."
Velora had heard enough. All this talk concerning the cultivation of warriors was most unsettling. However, at the same time Velora couldn't resist the opportunity to sadistically pick at the uncomfortable topic. She was itching for a good verbal spat and she was sure Teela would deliver. "If you'll excuse my opinion Captain. I for one am happy that our dear Prince wasn't corrupted by the necessary evils that are the way of the warrior."
"I mean no offense. Deception and manipulation are as much a part of battle as they are a part of diplomacy but at least bloodshed was never a part of treaty negotiations."
"Lady Velora, I can assure you that the Royal Guard does not partake in these 'evils' that you speak of."
"But Captain, I'm sure that you'd agree that deception can certainly have it's place in combat. Tricking you opponent into underestimating you can work towards your advantage."
"In a perfect world there would be no need for armed conflict, but Eternia is not a perfect world. I instruct my men to use sound and fair judgment. It's bad enough that the vermin of society chooses to fight dirty. The soldiers of the Royal Guard will not lower themselves to their level. We are representatives of the King of Eternia and we will not dishonor him by being a disservice."
"Then I hope you're prepared to loose some of your soldiers because you refuse to get off your moral high horse."
Velora silently admonished herself for letting her mouth get away from her. She should be trying to get on Teela's good graces, not instigate an argument with her. Not to mention the fact that their little spat had drawn the attention of a couple of wandering eyes. The gardens sometimes created the illusion of seclusion but they were on the grounds of the Royal Palace and therefore quite public. On the bright side, though, Adam appeared to appreciate that she was more than just a pretty face if the astonished look he'd been carrying was any indication.
"I'm terribly sorry Captain. That was out of line. I only meant to convey to you that despite your honorable dedication to upholding a warrior's ethics, your enemies are not adhering to the same code of conduct. Those same enemies would not hesitate to go back on their word and murder the innocent in their pursuit of power. Those of us that have lost loved ones because of such deception are reminded of it everyday of our lives."
Velora sent Teela a small smile. She hadn't meant to let her argument get personal but nevertheless it had. It was not her wish to appear weak and emotional and now she had done precisely that.
The three young people stood in a silence that appeared to be unending until Prince Adam broke it and quietly spoke for the first time since before the heated discussion between his two companions.
"You know, even with everything, the history books, the monuments and the day of rememberance...the Horde Wars, they seem like something that happened a different lifetime ago. I guess that sometimes I feel like I'm guilty of not fully understanding the more personal ramifications of the Horde Wars, and for that I must apologize Velora. I'm sorry for not giving people like your father the appropriate amount of tribute. We came close. So very close to losing it all to this power hungry force from another planet and the more time that passes we risk becoming a generation far removed from the sacrifices of those that came before us. It wasn't that long ago yet perhaps we as a people focus too much on structural and political loss because the emotional loss is still too raw."
Adam's statement had left Velora feeling more emotionally vulnerable than she had been in quite a while. His confesion was quite earnest and his final remark about the collective displacement of emotions did hit a little close to home for her. "I miss my father, everyday. My mother and I were denied his presence the day he was killed, but there's nothing that can be done to change that. What happened, happened and I've moved past it. He was murdered. He fought fair. The Horde didn't." Velora took a deep cleansing breath before she continued. Time to mend some fences. "Being raised by a single parent I grew up faster than most children. I shouldered responsibility at a young age but I'm sure you can relate Teela, Captain of the Guard. I hope others follow in your example. Us girls need every good recruit we can find."
The uncomfortable tension that had gone up really hadn't disapated but it did eleviate to some degree when Teela nodded in what Velora took as agreement concerning their mutual situation. It was apparent that she hadn't won Teela over so she would have to settle for reluctant acceptance.
Obviously taking note of the still present tension Adam kindly suggested that perhaps a visit to the museum would be a nice way to continue their tour.
That was all that Velora could say in mock merriment. She was determined to spend as much time reminiscing with her old friend and a couple of long suppressed emotions were not going to get in the way. To be honest she hadn't thought about the Horde in years. She had religated those monsters to the back of her mind and that's where they were going to stay. Lady Velora of Porras had a prince to charm.