Thursday, August 09, 2012

FM Flash Friday # 3: The New King

The New King


Lazette Gifford

Copyright 2012, Lazette Gifford 
King Garret had been a strong man when he took the throne at fifty-five.  Forty years later he wasn't interested in much of anything except a good nap.  Enemies began eyeing our borderlands, so a cadre of lords went to petition Garret to field the army.  I accompanied Uncle Newman as his heir since he'd exiled his sons.  Not an easy man to live with but I would inherit if I held on a few more years without getting exiled halfway across the world.

Or invaders didn't take our land.

King Garret sat on the throne listening to everyone.  He nodded sometimes but I suspected he didn't hear one word in ten.

We feasted well the first night.  Nice to see our taxes put to such good use.

The next morning High Priest Denton told us the king had died.

"King Garret.  Our King.  Dead," Lord Nithen said, a cup halfway to his lips.

"Yes.  Died in his sleep," Denton replied with an imperious bow of his bald head.  "Assemble at noon to invest the prince with the crown."

Denton left.

We had a problem. 

The late queen had been thirty years younger than Garret who was fifty when they married.  She'd given him two sons.  Spencer, the oldest by ten years, was mad as a loon and the priesthood had raised him.  Forest, the second son, had inauspicious beginnings.  Bandits had kidnapped the Queen and held her for several weeks before the king paid a ransom in gold for her return.

Forest was born eight months later. 

So you know which prince Denton meant to have on the throne.

The lords would officially choose. The traditional shouting match began with Uncle Newman taking the side of the loon.  I avoided the festivities and went to the suite where I found Aunt Campania knitting.  She'd have a dozen sweaters done by the time we got home.

"Kent," she said without looking up.  "I heard shouting."

"The King died."

"Garret died."  She still knitted.


"Well, that's going to be a problem."

"The Lords can vote since they're here."

"True."  Her hands paused. She looked at me.  "They aren't really considering a choice, are they?"

"Uncle Newman is backing Prince Spencer."

"Of course he is."

She went back to knitting.

I returned to the hall at noon so I could say I was present when they named the king. The room was crowded with lords, heirs, nobles and retainers.  Spencer arrived to this auspicious meeting in a nightdress and crown.  He didn't like clothing and a priest stayed nearby to make sure he remained dressed.

We fell silent.  Spenser stared.  He looked like his father in a "not quite-connected with the real world" sort of way "They're all dogs!" he shouted.  Everyone jumped.  "I hate dogs!"

"You love dogs," Denton said.

"I do?"


"Good then." 

Spencer barked and stared.  He barked again. 

He's talking to us.

No one moved.

Spencer barked.

Someone else barked and soon a dozen Lords barked and yapped.  I looked to the door, marking my escape.

Spencer growled and everyone fell silent.  He looked at Denton.

"They're stupid dogs.  Take them out and kill them."

I backed away while my uncle barked louder, apparently trying to convey he was big and strong.  Unfortunately, I backed into someone and turned to find Forest along with several of the castle guard.

"Your pardon, sir."

"Don't leave," Forest said with a bright smile.  He did not look like Garret or Spencer.  Another point in his favor.  "This is going to get interesting."

"I didn't want to get caught up with the rest of these curs."

He laughed as he went past.

"You are not welcome here," Denton said when Forest stepped out of the crowd.

"And you don't rule," Forest replied.  "Neither does Spencer."

"Oh good," Spencer said, relieved. 

"They haven't voted!"

"Right!" Newman shouted.   "You can't waltz in here and take the throne, you little bastard --"

Forest turned, pulled his sword and put the blade against my uncle's jugular.  "I believe you want to rephrase that, don't you?"


"I thought so.  Shall we vote?" Forest took two steps up and turned.  "All those in favor of me as king can raise their hands.  Those opposed can bark."

Hands went up everywhere except for Denton and Newman, of course.  At least neither barked.

"Thank you." Forest looked at Denton.  "Unless you want to make a formal complaint?"

Two of the castle guard moved to flank the priest. Denton's eyes flickered left and right and back to Forest.  He said nothing.

"Good then.  Take Spencer off to play.  And Denton, I better never hear he's unhappy."

"I can go play in the mud now?" Spencer asked.

"Absolutely," Forest replied with a bright smile.  Denton look appalled.

"Yay!"  Spencer hurried away, already tugging at the night shirt.  Amazing.  Decades of careful work lost to some barks and a show of hands. 

Forest settled in the throne.  "I think it time you retire from your estate, Newman, and take your lovely wife to visit your sons, wherever they are."

"You have no right --"

Two guards moved down a step from the throne.

"Your nephew is here?  Ready to take control of the lands?"

"That would be me."

"Excellent.  Anyone else want to give up worrying about running their estates?  No?  Go plan your trip, Newman."

He started to protest.  The guards escorted him out of the room.  I now had the estate? Maybe having a loon for a king wouldn't have been so bad, because I suspected Prince -- King -- Forest expected us to work.

"Lord Kent," he said with a nod of his head.  "Welcome to the Council.  Oh, and when you get a chance, thank your aunt for the lovely sweater and wise advice."

Well, hell.

"Shall we get down to business, my Lords?"

So we had a new king in Annixer.  I made a note to send Spencer a puppy in the spring.

The End

1000 words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:

1 comment:

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

Sounds like the country got the king it needed. Very nice!