Posted by: cmittermeier | July 26, 2015

First Draft… 

I haven’t done much creative writing for a while, and now that homeschooling and guests and such are done, I would like to return to it for a bit.  Yes, yes, I got my walk in tonight, it is not taking time from my required exercise.  I thought I would share with you, the beginning of a new book.

10th year of King Ornith’s reign, IYL 1715

The crowds were gathering, news that the Queen had gone into labour had brought everyone out into the streets it seemed.  Like the dust that collected on their heels, the murmurs were both plentiful and unimportant, but every so often a pebble worth noting would roll around, causing discord till it could be cast off with expectant thoughts.  The padrios who were quietly observing took note of which pebbles of discord came up more often, and which ones seemed more problematic. Both of the world and apart from it, they were invisible to most as people were so used to their quiet presence.  Much like the soldiers, they never engaged the conversation, but took it all in.  Unlike the soldiers, who were watching for signs of disturbance or illegal activity, the padrios were watching for patterns, for the sways in the public.  

“What took him so long, eh? My wife and I had plenty by ten years!” was a frequent jest, and far from important.  The answers, now those were note worthy.  They no longer felt the Kind and Queen had trouble conceiving, and the crowds were split into three camps.  The smallest group was the romantics, who feared the King loved another lass, and that a true heir had already been born – no indeed, that MANY true heirs roamed the streets among us.  This group was a very minor group, hardly worth noting, especially in comparison to the next largest.  

Next were the planners.  They had seen the increase in the quadrant to the west, the gathering for battle against the Tannens who lay just outside the borders, and suspected the King had simply been far too often staying at the Western Duke’s home for it to have been possible.  They thought it was obvious that the Queen’s safety was best served here in the center of the kingdom, as far away from the Western quadrant, where their King spent most of his time (and their money) building a protective army. 

The last, most worrisome for it fell closest to the truth, had decided Ornith was power hungry and had waited ten years to ensure his offspring would not come of age  and usurp him they way he had the old King.  At least till he was in his late fifties or early sixties.  This group was almost half the people who offered opinions, for everyone knew the former kings death was hardly natural.  Who had killed him, and why, that had never been fully revealed. Though most suspected Ornith, the Western Duke, Boren, had also gained much from the untimely demise. For this group, the question was not why so long, but why had Ornith let the pregnancy happen at all?  

It was that last question that the padrios paid the most attention.  Some of the people feared that Boren was challenging for the throne, that too much of the resources of the army were now under his control.  In producing an heir, now Boren would have to kill two, and as the heir apparent would be hidden in the commoners till of age, it would put off any murder for a number of years.  A few feared that he would be able to kill the heir before it left the castle, but it was unlikely.  The more common fear was that he would kill Ornith and then somehow manage to buy off the Pastorals into putting himself in place as Trustee, eventually killing the heir as well.  Here was where they found their frustration, the idea that he could buy off the Pastorals was unbeleiveable.  No, if Boren was going to make a move for power, it was not going to be through the Pastorals.

 Soon, all the murmurs were drowned out by the criers as they ran through the streets with the news, “A boy!  The Queen has born a boy!”

***

The head of the Pastorals, who like all heads of the Pastoral, prefered to be called Padrio Malik than by his title, knew the Queen’s pain.  He had been present thirty three years before when she herself was born.  The monarchy kept its balance between blood and populus in a manner that had ensured its continued popularity for almost eight hundred years.  No other kingdom could boast such a long reign.  It was a delicate balance between the Triune, man, and monarch, and though every child was taught this exchange was the secret to its sucess, in reality it was only a single piece in a much larger puzzle, but, it was an important peice.

When the first three heirs are born, they are taken from the King and Queen by the prophets.  Through the Triune’s guidence and under the guise of the orphan pairing system, they deliver the heirs to a foster family to raise them till they are of age.  The pastorals ensure they are properly tutored, ready to rule, but till they are of age neither the family nor the child is aware of their noble birth.  When the child reaches eight years of age, a mark is given, so no conterfeit could be claimed.  After each birth, usually for a period of no more than five years, the prophets roam the kingdom looking for the “People’s Prince or Princess”, in essence, looking for the Triune to point them to the heir’s mate.  That child is brought to the kindgom to be raised in the castle.  For the mother’s, it is an excruciating trade.  Your blood child for another, and as Malik sat with the Queen and her tears, he remembered her mother’s anguish as her daughter was taken.

Ornith had been the People’s Prince, and he was found quickly by the prophets. As he was already two when the princess had been born, he was brought to the castle within days.  The ceremonial handing over of the children was done simultaneously.  The old Queen had been given no time to greive the loss of her child before another was thrust into her arms.  Though Ornith’s parents would remain as nobles, they would see very little of their child, he was to be given as much time to bond with the Kind and Queen as possible.  Only Ornith and the old Queen did not bond.  She could not forget her daughter, and within a short time withered and died as her health failed.

Malik cursed the training her pastorals had given her.  Life is not be set upon this world, especially not upon any single person or thing within it.  More so for the Monarchy, they must be willing to set everything aside for the betterment of their kingdom and the people within it.  For the commoner, it would be a hindrance to their journey to the hearafter, but for a Monarch, it could be the undoing of a kingdom, not just a single soul.  The exchange was an important piece, but only one piece, and being able to let go of your hold on everthing for the kingdom was similarly important.  Though Malik mourned the old Queen, he had often felt the kingdom was better she had not passed on her attachments to Ornith.  Ornith had enough troubles without that bit.

“I will be able to let him go,” as Padrio Malik looked a the Queen she looked up at him and answered his silent question. “I will always miss him, but, twenty years will pass quickly.”

“You are allowed to grieve,” he felt badly that she knew all too well the story of her mother’s decline, “the Prophets indicate there is no mate just yet.”

“He is a feisty one,” the Queen tried to bundled him one more time, “Nothing seems to keep him in his wraps.  The Prophets will have their hands full.”

“Friar Jassom has been choosen,” Malik smiled at the boy.

“Oh that makes me feel better!” The Queen looked relieved, “I have yet to see a child he cannot handle.  Its a shame he is not a teacher.”

“The Triune set his calling,” Malik nodded, “If it were up to me he would have been a teacher.  Mind you, Jassom often laughs that he enjoys the break, he is the oldest of twelve.”

“Twelve!” the Queen looked, “Oh how I would change places with her!  Then I’d get to raise 9!”

They both smiled knowing it was unlikely Ornith would give her even a second child.  Boren had too much sway, and though Malik silently hoped, as the people did, that the pregnancy was an indication that Ornith was trying to set his own coarse, something told him to look for another course.

***

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