Friday, January 15, 2010

The Reluctant Prince, Chapter 2: Grondo and the Trespassers

Chapter 2: Grondo and the Trespassers 

When Grondo was King of the Kindred, there was peace between us and the red-skins. There hasn't always been peace between our two, very different tribes. But when Grondo was king, he made the peace between us and he kept the peace for a very long time.

There was a moment, though, when Grondo first came to his throne, when it looked as if there were going to be hostilities between us and the red-skins. Foraging parties on both sides raided and plundered resources in each others territories. It was a very serious matter. By doing so, they broke the treaty that was made after the Battle of the Long Leaf. In that treaty, both tribes promised they would only hunt and forage in the others domain if permission was asked and granted at the High Meet, when both tribes came together to communicate and work out any grievances we might have. And, oh, boy did we have them!

The incident happened one day in late Bright Shining Time.

Some red-skins were caught wandering in our territory by some of our border patrollers. They were brought before King Grondo's throne at the Royal Castle, whose Outer Gates were situated in a knothole high on the crown of a particularly fine oak tree.

King Grondo was having a rough day.

For you see, the tribe had been pestering him ever since his coronation about getting himself a Queen. He was the only King since time out of mind to ascend to the throne without already having a wife and the Kindred could not remember a time when they did not have both a King and a Queen ruling over them.

Sure, a King was good enough for economic, justice, political and military matters. But when you needed mercy and compassion to balance out the affairs of state, nothing was better than the tender heart of a Queen for that. Plus, they were just as capable in the political arena as a King. So, quite understandably, the King's mind was preoccupied with thoughts of possible mates, when the soldiers entered the throne room with the red-skinned interlopers.

"Your Highness, Grondo the Great." said Merby, chief of the border patrol. "We've caught these reds inside our boundaries."

King Grondo remained seated in his throne and did not even look at his visitors. He sat with his head in his hands and mumbled to himself. " one but her. It can't be anyone but her...I won't...But I can't ask her...she won't agree..."

"Your HIGHNESS!" Merby interrupted, a little more loudly.

The king jerked his head up suddenly, as if surprised to find that he was no longer alone. "Yes?" he asked wearily.

"These red-skins were caught encroaching on our lands," continued Merby. "What would you like done with them?"

The king's eyes moved from Merby to the reds in question. There were two of them. "Not much of a hunting party," the king replied.

"Nevertheless, my liege" said Merby. "They refused to tell the patrol what they were doing in our territory and said they were told to speak only to you."

King Grondo perked up at that, leaning back in his throne to display what he hoped was an air of confidence toward the two alien tribesmen. "Is that so? Messengers, then?"

The larger of the reds stepped forward and bowed on one knee before the throne. "Yes, Your Majesty. I am Lorwag, the kin-brother of Lumac. He seeks a High Meet with you and your tribe. On the next long-shadow time." Lorwag rose to his feet and stepped back after delivering the message.

"Lumac..."said the king thoughtfully.

So, the Red Shaman calls a High Meet with us. Outside of the schedule, the king reflected. "What does he seek to discourse with me about at this Meet?" the king asked.

Lorwag stepped forward again. "I only know it pertains to a prophesy he intends to give concerning Your Kingship."

King Grondo nearly fell out of his throne. "He means to prophesy? About me?" He asked.

"Yes," replied Lorwag. "He has had a vision concerning you and it concerns all of us, as well. Both tribes of the Kindred."

Grondo blinked. Whatever prophesy the Red Shaman could possibly have concerning him, it was sure to be bad. Still... Grondo straightened high in his throne again in an effort to appear unaffected by this news. He cast an unblinking stare down at the messenger, who had not yet moved back into formation with the other red-skin under guard, as if he had something more to say to the king. "Is that all?" Grondo asked, although he knew it wasn't.

"No, Your Majesty. Lumac also seeks a personal counsel with you after the Meet is concluded." Lorwag finished, then stepped back alongside his silent red counterpart.

What could the old red devil want to see me privately about? the king wondered, his mind deeply disturbed by this news.

"Very well. We will come together on the next long shadow." the king said, then turning to the patrol captain. "Merby, see that these messengers return to their own territory safely, and that they do not linger near the border."

"Yes, Your Highness," Merby said. The patrol then marched the two messengers out of the throne room.

When the door was closed, Grondo sank back into his chair and frowned. "What does the old trickser want with me?" he asked himself.

Well, whatever the prophesy and whatever the outcome of the meet, it would not do for the kindred to be left without a ruler, in any case.

He knew then what he had to do.

End of Chapter Two. 
(a link for Chapter Three will be provided once it has been posted)

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