Rid of all the threats hanging over her head and finally allowed to marry King Patrick, Eleanor believes that the worst is over; that her most challenging task ahead of her is how to create and uphold a more just law for the Kingdom she now co-rules with her husband; how to appreciate the luxuries she has found surrounding her without ever forgetting her roots; how she could care better for the poor, the roots and backbones of the Kingdom.
But danger lurks from the darkness, unbeknownst to her, unnoticed to all; and he will strike at the most unexpected moment, jeopardising not only Eleanor, but those whom she holds dear to her heart.
Patrick had spent the entire time writing responses to various correspondences, including expressing gratitude for the various gifts they have received from neighbouring countries; gifts that were still rolling in every day ever since words of their nuptial started spreading.
He looked up and twisted his head left and right, trying to loosen his stiff neck muscles. His gaze stumbled upon Eleanor, lying down on the chaise lounge located to the right of the main study desk; her lips pursed and a slight frown appearing on her forehead as she concentrated hard to make sense of the document she was currently reading.
“I’ve never seen you look so serious before,” he commented, chuckling slightly as he started massaging his fingers, trying to get blood circulating through again.
“That’s probably because I have never read such a… well, I don’t know the right word to describe this,” she retorted, flicking her fingers softly on the paper. Patrick stood up, paced towards her and, without being asked, she raised herself up, giving him room to lie down before she leaned back, resting her head on his shoulder.
“What are you reading?” he asked, holding one end of the parchment paper whilst Eleanor held the other, squinting as he tried to read the writing from afar.
“This is what I could find about imprisonment law,” she said, “but the explanations seem so… vague.”
“What do you want to know?” he asked, having perused the document, which only contained of seven brief lines, outlining that any individual found guilty will be admitted to the prison until such time they will be brought to trial, in which occasion a sentence will be bestowed upon said individual to be carried out on a certain date by assigned officials.
“Well, for one, is there any guideline as to how the prisoners are supposed to be treated whilst being imprisoned, awaiting for trial?” she asked.
Patrick shook his head. “That is administered by the officials who capture and imprison the prisoners. Usually the Lords of the villages they are in charge of.” Eleanor shifted slightly until she was lying on one side, tilting her head until she could see his chin, the outline of his lips, and if she strained hard enough, his cheek.
“So, you mean to tell me that the officials can do whatever they deem appropriate to the prisoners?” Patrick nodded painstakingly, noticing her frown deepening, her jaw dropping slightly.
“But… why? Shouldn’t there be a law, a general guideline at least, outlining what is acceptable and unacceptable practices?” she interrogated further.
“As to why, I guess it is because the Lords are used to have certain amount of power and freedom in which to exercise it,” he explained patiently.
“I see,” she said, drawing the words out and chewing her bottom lip as she began to create a mental list of things that needed to be established and rewritten in her mind. “And I’m presuming that they also decide what sentences the prisoners should have?”
Patrick nodded again, shifting uncomfortably as her piercing blue eyes stared at him somewhat accusingly, fully dissecting the inadequacy of imprisonment law of his Kingdom.
“I’ve never said that our current law is conclusive, or satisfactory,” he put in helpfully.