They couldn’t lock her up and keep her prisoner. One of the most respected laws in the country was that a woman could not be punished for the violations of man near her. Any father who had a daughter, brother who had a sister, or husband who had a wife and planned to do something wrong would protect this law with all their might, to make sure that the world couldn’t punish them by hurting their loved ones. Since it was common knowledge that the former Queen Margaret Michelle was a coward who fled the battle and wielded no sword of her own, the Usurping King Matthew would have been asking to have himself ripped from his new throne by holding her on the crimes of her husband.
So, the former Queen, known now just as Shelly, the nickname her friends called her, could come and go as she pleased.
Shelly was very careful, however. She knew they would be looking for the slightly fault to have her locked up as well. She knew she couldn’t be locked up because there was too much for her to do, too much that now rested on her shoulders alone. If she joined her husband in is his cell, all would be lost.
Still, almost every day, she spent most of her time with her husband, the disgraced King. Whenever they were being watched, they played their arts well. Andrew acted like a tortured, broken, beaten man, one who barely recognized his wife or his quarters. Shelly, acted as the love and heartbroken wife, tending to her husband, trying to encourage him and restore him to health.
But when left alone, they spoke quietly, in hurried tones, plotting and planning and scheming. They even developed a code that they could use to exchange important information when they had to keep up the façade. The only day she didn’t go to her heartbroken husbands’ side was on the first Saint’s Day of every month, she dressed carefully and went to the Temple of the Triple Gods.
Or at least that’s where she appeared to go. Once there, she was spirited away by the Priests and Masters loyal to her, so tha she could go to farmhouse where her young son was being raised without her.
It went like this for years. And yet the happiest moment of every month was when she approached the house, and the fair little boy came running from the house crying “Mama! Mama!” In an accent that was never quite like her own.
He always had things to show her, things he’d learned to do that month, or something he’d made her, or even just to stand against the little notch on the door to prove that he was getting taller.
Every month he asked, “Mama, when can I meet my father?”
And every month she answered, “Soon, my boy. Very soon, my brave boy”
When he learned to write, she showed her happily that he could sign ‘Martin Mickels,’ the name that he went by as he masqueraded as a peasant’s son.
But he also showed her, in the quiet privacy of the farmhouse that he could sign Martin Andrew Michael Phillip, Prince in Honor, heir to the throne of Krall. Once his handiwork had been admired, they burned the slip. Martin understood that he was only safe as long as he didn’t acknowledge who he really was. It was the only rule he knew not to test or push the limits of.
On the days she visited Martin, Shelly would ask to stay the night with the disgraced king in his cell. The others thought it was to make up for the lost time she spent praying all day.
But it was so those nights she could whisper all the wonders of their son into his ear, and she never left out a single detail for him. Not one solitary moment.
It was one of those nights, shortly after Martin’s sixth birthday, sleeping at her husband’s sides, Shelly had her first miraculous dream. In her dream, she was sitting on her throne once again, the beautiful and wholly royal Queen of Krall. Her husband stood before her, placing the Prince’s crown on the head of a young man kneeling before him. When the young man rose, she saw it was her Martin, no longer a child of six but fifteen or sixteen, tall and strong, looking every bit like his father’s child. And smiling warmly to his mother as his father announced him the crowned prince of the kingdom and heir to the throne. And she knew, without a doubt in her whole being, that one day they would be successful. That dream would come true.