His Serene Highness, the Prince Ashmore, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Golden Dragon, Principal Councilor and Aide de Camp to the King, Premier Magister of the Earth, known as ‘Gary’ to his many friends, was idling in his bath. It was a lovely late summer morning and he had no serious obligations for the day. Then his lover, Sir James Wolsey, Knight of the Order of the Golden Dragon, Principal Councilor to the King, Household Medal with Swords, came into the bathroom. He was cheerful and sparkly nude and climbed into the large bath with Gary. They were teenagers. Teenagers in love. So they were busy for the rest of the morning.
Just over two years had elapsed since the end of the Trollian War. Jamie was in high school and Gary would have started high school, but the war intervened. Their world was never the same again. Both Gary and Jamie had distinguished themselves in the war and the events just preceding the war. They had been rewarded for their services with a handsome grant appropriate to the honours bestowed upon them by a grateful King Justin III. However, as an Earth Magister, capable of communing with the earth itself, Gary had no problem supplementing their fortune. He located several deposits of rock crystal which provided large pieces of this flawless quartz which could be turned into luxury crystal products as well as magical paraphernalia. He had located a valuable cinnabar mine which he had given to the King. And he had also found a gold and silver mine which produced capital for he and Jamie, but he was far more interested in gemstones and other rare items found in the earth.
Jamie was a liegeman to the King. He had been in a group foster home in San Diego and was going nowhere fast; he and two friends had decided to start preying on other students at school. They had fixed upon a likely victim, only to discover that their intended victim was a royal prince and was protected by a formidable familiar who had adopted the persona of a Great Grey Owl. Jamie had entered the Prince’s service and remained there to this day, though his Prince had become his King.
“Let’s do lunch,” Jamie observed, and they headed toward the kitchen without bothering to dress. There, they began assembling sandwiches.
“You know,” Gary commented. “I’m getting tired of chips and dips and sandwiches and hot dogs and cereal. We’ve got this great kitchen and we never use anything but the sink and the fridge.”
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you lot,” Donnie said as he entered the kitchen, also in search of lunch; but he was wearing neatly pressed cargo shorts and a gray t-shirt with his regiment’s crest on the chest. Donnie had been a private in the 8th Regiment of Foot. They’d been attempting to dig a well when Gary arrived at the army’s camp and pointed out the problem of their site selection. The problem was no water. A major problem when you’re trying to dig a well. The ensuing hours had been informative and Donnie, with an eye to the main chance, had suggested that Gary should have a batman and that he would be an excellent choice for the assignment.
“You ’ave this chateau, a townhouse in the capital, a suite in the Summer Palace, and then you wuz thinking yer might purchase a home on Earth, too. It’s time, my friends, that yer ’as a ’ousehold. The three of us been just a band of ruddy gypsies movin’ all about, but niver proper at all.”
Jamie and Gary looked at him transfixed. They’d never been lectured on propriety. He had caught them in his headlights. He put his hands on his hips, thrust up his chin, and continued.
“Lookit this kitchen! Wot’s missin’? Wot’s missin’ is a bloody cook is wot’s missin’. An while I’m at it. We got no pots. No pans. We got no skillets. We got no proper china an’ no proper silverware. An’ the two of yer runnin’ around naked as the day yer wuz born: in the kitchen fer crissake! Well, once we gets a cook, we’ll be eatin’ proper an’ you’ll no be running around naked in the kitchen. Not wi’ a grand Missus Cook wavin’ spoons an knives aboot, that’s a sure.
“We’ve a ruddy great limousine that I drives and that’s bloody well all.
“We got any housemaids to keep this bloody barn fit for King’s Men? No! As yer knows well, we got no maids at all.
“An well yer knows the rules: footmen is footmen, maids is maids, chauffeurs is chauffeurs. No swappin’ an switchin’ an that’s a sure!
“I’m yer man and I loves yer, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna clean yon fookin’ chandelier.” Donnie paused for breath. He was grinning which somewhat dulled the effect of his tirade.
An immaculate young man in black tie, with several miniature medals twinkling on his chest, approached the maître d’hôtel to advise him that the two young aristocrats who had reservations would be at the dining room in moments. A handsome gratuity seemed to appear in the palm of the maître d’hôtel. It had never been done more subtly and seldom more generously.
The two young men were in white tie. The maître d’ did not recognize the decorations they were wearing, but he had a discriminating eye and he recognized the gleam of gold, authentic gemstones, and beautifully tailored formal wear. The two young men were very pleasant and exuded charm and sincerity. He marked them carefully in his memory as authentic gentlemen, real aristocrats, and wealthy.
Gary and Jamie enjoyed the bustle and attention of the waiters. Gary then won the undying respect of their waiter as he ordered a meal for delivery to “my man” in “my car just outside.” So Donnie ordered and enjoyed a lavish roast beef dinner while sitting in the back seat of their limousine. Complete: from soup to dessert. No wine of course.
Back in the dining room, after some discussion, it was decided to begin with oysters on the half shell. A dozen for each. This was to be followed by the cream of barley soup that the waiter highly recommended.
The sommelier was both pleased and disappointed. He was pleased in a rather distant and academic sort of way in that the boys had declined any alcohol. They might be slightly underage, to be sure, but that new minimum age law was of no consequence in a restaurant of this calibre with diners of such evident rank. Still, he was disappointed. The young men had ordered Italian mineral water, rather than the French, and he would have no opportunity to display his knowledge and his art at what was going to obviously be a very nice dinner.
Having determined that the salmon, in the fish entrée was fresh and not farmed, they agreed on the poached salmon in mousseline sauce.
“You know,” Gary observed. “Donnie is right. We need to get organized.”
The oysters had arrived, and half way through his, Jamie commented, “You know, Copey mentioned the other day that the GSM was considering retirement. If we could convince him to be our estate manager, I bet everything would run smooth as an oyster on its way down the tube.” He smirked swallowing dramatically.
Gary looked beseechingly to the ceiling.
The soup arrived. The hot sauce Jamie wanted came in a cut crystal shaker with a sterling top. No small common bottles with jarring labels were permitted to obtrude. The soup, as promised, was very good. Gary did not use any hot sauce.
“Do ya think he’d really be interested,” Gary wondered.
“Well I don’t see him in a rocker on his front porch. Where is Copey anyway?”
“He’s run down to see Teddy and the Old Guy,” Gary smiled.
“My. What a thing of beauty,” Jamie stated as the filets mignons Lili arrived.
The waiters and their assistants moved quietly and efficiently about the table as the young diners concentrated on their filets.
Over dessert, the boys decided that after the art show at Versailles, and the two galleries with new shows they wished to visit here in Paris, that they’d drop by the palace in Kingstown, pay their respects to their pal the King, and see if GSM Aberhonddu might be interested in a retirement position.