The day was warm considering autumn’s chill had settled over the capital. The lush green trees all slowly began to fade to golds and crimson and in a few weeks they would truly be a sight to behold. Yet the air in his office seemed unusually warm, tantamount to summer’s peak rather than an autumn evening. A quill scratched across papers, pausing only to dip into a phial of ink, oblivious to the temperature or season. His paperwork had gotten ahead of him again and this would not be the first night he awake into the morning hours trying to catch up.
The feathered pen fell from Richard’s grip and the monarch stared at it upon the desk for several seconds, his mind entirely blank. Snapping from the trance he tried to shake the peculiar emptiness but with more difficulty than he cared to consider. Perhaps a cup of tea was in order if he intended to make it much later. Carefully stacking his papers to the side, Richard set each utensil in its place before standing from the chair he had all but lived in over the past week and made his way out of the office.
He had not made it around the corner when he stumbled, his vision blurring a moment and it was only a hand upon the wall that kept his balance. The stone beneath his glove felt unusually cool, as did the breeze that drifted in from a nearby window, rejuvenating him only enough to gather his thoughts from a mind that was foggier than he cared to consider. It cleared only enough for his wrist to rise to his forehead, to feel the skin searing there.
No. Why now of all times?
He had to keep moving forward… perhaps something cool to drink would be enough to calm it, at least long enough to get some more work done. He couldn’t stop because of something like this… he couldn’t fail his people again after all. The next few steps he took down the hallway were no more stable and soon the wall was a welcome support. Determined as he was to move forward, focused so carefully on each step that he scarcely noticed where he was going? The air was cool… had he made a wrong turn? Wandered outside? He tried to focus, so much attention upon that single task he did not even hear the sound of footsteps approaching.