This short story takes place on Kingdom Come. It’s not directly related to the novels; it is just another little glimpse into the life of Charity Kochsato, the Violet Duchess of Drakeshead.
Charity held Royal’s hair back as the small breakfast she’d tried to eat came right back up. They’d both put on some weight since the wedding, but whereas it turned out the Princess’ extra kilos came from pregnancy, Charity was simply getting fat.
“Charity…” Royal whispered after spitting out all she could. “Would you come back to bed with me?”
Charity looked up at the two maids who were hovering near. One for her, one for her wife. “Ari, please bring us each some ginger ale and some dry toast. Sorcha, please tell Rondelle and Patricia that both Royal and I will be indisposed for the morning.”
The maids scurried off, and Charity helped her nauseated wife rinse her mouth. They went to Royal’s bedchamber instead of the large group master bedroom. It was smaller, and more intimate, and Royal had her own bathroom close by.
Charity held her wife gently. She knew that Royal hated for anyone to see her like this, but she made exceptions for those closest to her. Especially Charity. When Royal was tired of putting on the show that was The White Duchess of Drakeshead, Princess of the Kingdom, it was Charity she hid behind.
Charity didn’t mind. In fact, she loved the fact that Royal wanted her. As children, they had met several times whenever Charity’s parents, who were the County of Finborough in the Duchy of Fallcastle, had business in the capitol. Royal, as the daughter of the Kingdom, led a rather sheltered and pampered life. Charity had been ecstatic the first time the princess singled her out. Charity was just a few years older, and Royal had asked her to reach some toy on a shelf that was just out of reach. It was a small gesture, but Charity had been warned to be on her very best behavior while visiting the royal family, and she was eager to please in any way she could.
When they were both older, Charity had been honored to be selected as the counselor assigned to work with the group of girls that included the young princess. Royal had chosen to do a sabbatical semester in Fallcastle, at a camp that specialized in the history of the Kingdom. It was the perfectly appropriate kind of camp for a princess to choose, especially a princess who was looking at a career in politics, following in the footsteps of her mother, the White Queen. Charity had kept an eye out for the younger girl during the semester. She did not ignore her other charges, but she understood that, as a princess, Royal had to live up to certain expectations, and a higher level of scrutiny.
Charity had always admired how well Royal bore that scrutiny. She was the ideal White Duchess, able to hold her composure under the harshest pressure.
Royal didn’t look very composed at the moment. She was a mess. She was snuggled against Charity’s breast, trying to breathe evenly and settle her queasy stomach. Charity was able to coax her to take just a little ginger ale and dry toast, and soon Royal was sleeping again.
The Black Duke snuck into the bedroom, and Charity looked up at their husband with a smile. He smiled back, and waved Charity’s link in the air as if to say she was needed elsewhere. He mouthed the words “I’ve got her” and blew a kiss to Charity as she quietly padded out of the room.
After dressing as quickly as she could and still be recognizably noble, she met with Patricia, her assistant. Together with Rondelle, Royal’s assistant, they figured out which duties could be shuffled around between the duchesses. Given her position as the Violet Duchess, her schedule was much more flexible than her spouses’. Royal had a series of outings planned to meet with the county nobility of the neighboring duchy, as well as visits to their own counties. Those, Charity could do for her. They were mostly meet and greets, and one duchess was as good as another. Of course, Royal would have been scouting candidates to fill the upcoming seats in their own counties, but Charity could fill her in on everyone she met each night.
Royal expressed immense relief and appreciation that Charity was taking over the tour for her.
And for Charity, she found an unexpected benefit. With all the walking, touring, and talking instead of eating at all the formal functions, the weight she had put on since the wedding slowly started to melt away again.
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