All for Nothing

by Jordan Wellnitz

         "Revolting," Cynthia, the young blonde girl dressed in a rather ridiculous costume, sighs. She was once again watching her prince attempt to woo the princess of Detemsy, a neighboring land to their own Wallen. Prince Seamus had brought many expensive gifts and many of his finest servants (herself included) along to win the princess' favor. Unfortuantely for her kind-hearted prince, princess Morgana was not satisfied with any of it.

         In fact, Cynthia had come to realize that Morgana was not satisfied by anything, save cruelly playing the prince's heart strings or torturing his servants. Cynthia found the way that the coal-haired, muddy-eyed girl treated Prince Seamus apalling. The chocolate-haired, crystal blue-eyed prince was a kind, loving man who would do anything for anyone, but he went above and beyond for Morgana.

        Cynthia was Seamus' court jester, and one of the most celebrated jesters in five lands, so the prince had thought Morgana would greatly enjoy the young girl's hilarious shows. Cynthia had picked her best performance for the prince's love, but Morgana remained unamused. She did, however, enjoy when she made the prince perform demeaning acts.

         Every one of the prince's servants knew that Morgana was simply taking advantage of the prince's good nature. Every one of them had seen Morgana with one of her male servants. They'd seen him leaving her chambers at late hours, and they'd seen her giving him preferential treatment during the day. Some of the servants had attempted warning the prince of the secret affair, but Morgana had convinced Seamus they were lying out of some kind of jealousy or spite. Believing her over his trusted servants since birth, he had them banished from Detemsy and Wallen. Needless to say, the servants kept their mouth's shut about Morgana's nightly escapades.

           Cynthia, however, was finding it increasingly difficult to keep her mouth shut. Over the years, she had fallen in love with her prince. The two had been very close since childhood, and Cynthia was considered family by the king and queen. They had made sure she was well-educated and well taken care of after her parent's deaths, even going so far as to offer to adopt her. Cynthia had refused, however, as she did not want to be married off. She chose the life of a servant so that she could stay by Seamus' side. The prince and Cynthia regularly shared late night conversations about their worries and hopes.

               She forced herself to stop watching Seamus' shameful performance and she scurried to the kitchen where her best friend and fellow servant, Caleb, worked. "Hey, Cyn, the wicked witch of the west making your beloved prince perform like a chimp again?" Caleb jokes, a devious twinkle in his piercing green eyes. Cynthia sends him a half-hearted glare as she rips her ridiculous hat off and plops into a hard, wooden chair.

               "Not funny, Caleb." She sighs, "I wish he could see what's going on... I wish there was some way to make him realize..."

              "That he's meant to be with you?" Caleb finishes, blowing a strand of his sandy-colored hair out of his face as he takes a break from chopping vegetables.

              "That's not what I was going to say!" Cynthia exclaims, a blush painting her cheeks.

              "Oh, so what were you about to say?" he teases.

              "I was going to say, I wish he would realize that she's only using him. It's obvious to everyone that she holds no feelings for him..." Cynthia's eyes well-up slightly at the hopelessness of her situation.

              "Obvious to everyone but your dear prince, I'm afraid." Caleb stares at Cynthia sadly, feeling just as hopeless as she. Truth be told, Caleb had rather immense feelings for the young jester, but was too afraid to say anything. It made his blood boil that Cynthia was still so in love with Seamus. Ever since coming to Morgana's castle, Seamus had grown more and more distant from Cynthia. Caleb could remember the night that Cynthia had come to him, tears streaming down her pale face, after Seamus had told her that Morgana did not like their closeness, so they could no longer retain the same close bond they had previously shared. Yet, Cynthia still had eyes only for Seamus. "Cynthia.." Caleb begins, about to confess to her his love, but he is interrupted by the large, burly guard entering the kitchen.

             "You. Fool. Her Royal Highness Morgana calls upon you."

             "My proper title is 'jester', ignoramus," Cynthia mutters as she leaves the room to head to the witch's lair. Caleb stairs after her longingly for a moment before returning to work.

             "Enter," a snide, condescending voice says as Cynthia knocks on Morgana's chamber door.

             "You called upon me, your royal highness," Cynthia bows, biting her tongue against the threatening sarcastic tone.

             "You're the fool?" She asks. Though she is shorter than Cynthia, it was obvious that Morgana looked down at her.

             "I am the royal court jester, milady."

             "The fool." Morgana smiles nastily at Cynthia, reinforcing her childish insult. Morgana scowls when she receives no rouse from Cynthia. "Well. Seamus decided to hurt himself, so you'll have to entertain me."

             "What?" Cynthia starts, "What happened to Seamus?" Cynthia is immediately shocked by a sharp backhand from Morgana.

             "Lowly servants should address their master's properly," Morgana 'politely' informs Cynthia.

             "I apologize, milady." Cynthia bows to the nasty girl.

             "But if you must know, he failed at entertaining me. Honestly, how hard is it to juggle torches?" Morgana asks haughtily. "That's unimportant, however. Entertain me, fool."

             "No."

             "No?"

             "I refuse to bend to your will. Prince Seamus deserves far better than you and your hateful, treacherous ways." Cynthia moves towards to door as Morgana seethes angrily.

             "How do you think Seamus will respond when I tell him of your little crush on him and how you, in a jealous rage, attacked me?" Morgana threatens.

             "My prince is a kind, level-headed man. He will not believe your lies when confronted with the truth," Cynthia says without turning around.

             "Go ahead and try, " Morgana says off-handedly. "Just remember, you may have known him since childhood, but I'm the one he loves." Cynthia leaves the room and is led back to the servant's quarters by two large guards. She spends the next few hours thinking about Morgana's words.

             "What if he truly does believe her lies over me...?" Cynthia thinks in a panic. "No... he wouldn't... he has to believe me..." At midnight, Cynthia sneaks from her quarters and up to Seamus' chambers. Knocking quietly, she receives an 'enter'. "Seamus! she gasps, seeing his bandaged body.

             "Cynthia!" Seamus beams.

             "What happened to you?" Cynthia questions, worry laced in her voice.

             "I was clumsy, is all," Seamus laughs.

             "Seamus... I was informed you were juggling torches." Seamus laughs and nods. "It took me years to learn to juggle torches!"

             "Well, my lovely Morgana said it would please her," Seamus defends, sighing dreamily.

             "I was under the impression that I was the royal fool," Cynthia retorts angrily.

             "What do you mean by that?" Seamus asks?

             "Morgana seems to think you are the fool," Cynthia reiterates.

             "Nonsense."

             "Seamus. Morgana has been unfaithful. She has been sneaking around with one of her servants. I have witnessed it first hand!"

             "You see, my love! I told you she would try to take you from me!" Morgana cries, appearing suddenly in the doorway. "It's because of her obsession with you!"

             "That's not true, Seamus!" Cynthia defends. "I am one of your most loyal servants. I have always looked out for you, ever since we were kids!"

            "She conspires against our love," Morgana cries dramatically.

            "Cynthia. The punishment for this conspiracy is banishment from Detemsy."

            "Seamus!" Cynthia gapes.

            "That's Prince Seamus to you, fool," Morgana snides, a satisfied look on her face.

            "Leave. I no longer wish to be in the presence of your deceit," Seamus demands coldly.

           "But... my prince.."

           "Leave, fool." Cynthia flees the room quickly, sobbing loudly as she runs.

           "Caleb," Cynthia hiccups as she collapses next to her best friend's bed.

           "Cynthia?" he questions groggily. He quickly focuses, seeing her emotional state.            "What happened???" Cynthia explains the recent events through her sobs. Caleb holds her tightly, trying to calm the tremors racing through her body.

           "What do I do?" Cynthia asks Caleb pathetically. He looks down into her red, raw eyes.

           "We will leave," he says firmly.

           "We? But, Caleb...?"

           "No. I go where you go, Cyn. If he wants to throw you out after all you've done for him because of that little whore," Cynthia gasps, "then I don't wish to stay in his service either." Cynthia hugs the man tightly, thankful she will not be alone. The two gather their things and steal off into the night.

            Years later, Cynthia has formed a very popular minstrel group that travels across the many lands and has married Caleb. While traveling, the group stops in Wallen to perform for the commonfolk and the royals. They are invited to stay in the castle. King Kyle, Seamus' younger brother, has assumed the role of king after his brother failed to marry. "Cynthia!" Kyle exclaims as the two meet again after so many years. He hugs the small, smiling woman tightly. "This is my wife, Elizabeth." He introduces Cynthia to a beautiful brunette woman with shocking gray eyes.

            "It's a pleasure," Cynthia smiles. "You remember Caleb, don't you?" Kyle nods in affirmation at the woman's question. "We were married two years ago." Cynthia looks up at her husband, who looks down at her with a smile.

             "The happiest two years of my life," Caleb whispers against her forehead as he softly brushes his lips to it. The two couples share friendly conversation and catch up as they enjoy their evening meal. Neither Cynthia or Caleb fail to notice the many glances Cynthia receives from Seamus during the course of the meal.

             "Cynthia," Seamus says quietly after the meal is finished. He does not spare a glance at Caleb, who stands protectively at his wife's side.

             "Hello, Prince Seamus. It's good to see you are well," Cynthia smiles. Caleb, however, only gives his former rival a cold glare. Seamus wastes no time breaking down in front of Cynthia, telling of Morgana's infidelity.

            "You were right, Cynthia. Please forgive me," he begs pathetically.

            "No need to ask forgiveness, Prince. I have never been one to hold grudges," she says kindly.

            "I have," Caleb mutters angrily.

            "Oh, hush, Caleb," Cynthia scolds lovingly. Caleb grins at his wife.

            "May I speak privately with you, Cynthia?" Seamus asks, glancing disdainfully at Caleb.

            "I keep no secrets from Caleb," she replies.

            Seamus thinks for a moment, "Cynthia, please allow me to court you. I have been unable to get you off of my mind since you left."

            "Since she left!?" Caleb bursts angrily. Cynthia takes his hand calmingly.

            "I must refuse, I apologize," Cynthia says gently.

            "Please, Cynthia, I love you.." Seamus continues to beg. "I know that you hold feelings for me also."

            "While it is true that I once had feelings for you, I am a happily married woman now," Cynthia says, leaning into Caleb's muscular chest. They share a loving smile and Caleb kisses her forehead. "My feelings for you are nothing more than a distant memory." The couple returns to conversing with Kyle and Elizabeth, as Seamus realizes how much he has lost in his little game with Morgana.

            While remaining fixated on the one who did not care for him, he lost the one who did. In the end, he was the fool.

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