Lines of Succession, Part 3

Having recently completed a series of posts (first one here) on the Chronicles of Narnia, a fairy tale series for children, I thought I’d return to my personal writing archives for a fairy tale of my own. (It’s easy to figure out fairy tales are a genre I love.) The story is broken up into five parts. (To read from the beginning, start here.) Here’s the third part below.


Having the charming Princess back at table pleased the King exceedingly. He failed to see in her smiling face and sunny disposition any of the faults that glared so belligerently at the Crown Prince. Those days, the King appreciated Advent’s feminine companionship more than ever, for his own bride of many years, the Queen, had succumbed to fever and died. As in the early days when he had first met Princess Advent, the King could still sense the devotion that his daughter-in-law maintained for her husband. It made him even more utterly furious with his heir than he realized he could be. How could the younger man be so blind?

The King discovered he was unwillingly falling in love with the young woman. Whenever he saw her, he invariably smelled lilacs. He could study her face for hours, savoring her delicate, sensual beauty. Her eyes were like lilacs, a soft, violet-blue. Her lips were the shade of a velvet rose.The Prince, consumed only by his passion for the King’s satisfying dinner delights, had no idea what was happening right before his eyes at the royal table. And if the Princess sensed the way the King caressed her with his eyes, she gave no indication of it, always keeping her face dutifully lowered in deference to his kingly presence.

Inevitably, the night came again that the Prince refused her fellowship at the table. The King, who had come to anticipate the nightly visit they shared while the Crown Prince recklessly gluttonized, was understandably irate. Not only failing to recognize the growing admiration of his Father toward his wife, the Prince had also failed to see an equally startling phenomenon about the elder sovereign:  the King had become so attentive to his daughter-in-law, he had forgotten — or abandoned? — his mealtime indulgences and had consequently lost his rotund look. The King’s long-gone youthfully dashing physique had begun to reemerge.

“Where is she?” the King demanded, watching his son haphazardly stuff his face.

“Out of my presence,” the Prince retorted between bites, “and for the moment that’s all that matters.”

The King thought to thunder his righteous indignation at his son, demanding to know which of the two of them had the primary right to rule. After all, he was the King, was he not? But he took a more conciliatory approach, asking, “Why does she displease you this time, my Son?” The King no longer called his heir “my Boy.” It seemed a ludicrous euphemism for such a weighty pound of flesh.

“Very simply, Father? She bores me,” the Prince admitted. “I have outgrown her.”

On the last point, the King would have never quibbled. “What do you plan to do about it?”

Without hesitation, the Prince responded, “Write up a Decree, and I shall be done with her.”

The King was shocked. “Out of the question! The Decree of Divorcement has never been an option in royal unions. I will not set a precedent here.” Inwardly, the King was astonished by his hasty reply. What was he saying? With the Prince’s marriage dissolved, Advent would be free to become his queen! He had only to give his son permission, and the deed would be done, the past notwithstanding.

“You must permit it, Father! I cannot live my life like this anymore! I am in the depths of misery with her continuing hatefulness!” the Prince whined childishly.

“You talk with the shameful demeanor of a commoner, my Son. How can you speak of dissolution?” Above all else, even where the King’s own happiness was at stake, he fully and steadfastly believed in marital commitment.

“If this is the speech of a commoner, then so be it. I have the instincts of a commoner. My pain is too great to endure any longer. You must issue the Decree.”

Realizing his son’s feelings were often capricious, the King urged, “Let’s not be too hasty, Son. Think about it overnight. Remember your wedding vows. We can talk about this again tomorrow.”

The following night at table, the King fully expected to see the object of his growing affections on her husband’s bulbous arm, their quarrel having been amicably resolved. But again, his son came alone and was totally involved in his repast, so that he refused to discuss the subject with the King. This continued for an entire week but the King had no recourse, for he had never been one to bully his son into making a decision, even if it were to be a wise and prudent one.

“Father, I shall have a new wife,” the Crown Prince declared one evening.

Perplexed, the King shouted, “What do you mean? You already have a fine wife!” He had about lost his patience with this vexing heir of his. Pity he had no others from whom to choose a replacement. The King sipped his wine while the Prince gobbled unrestrained at the wide assortment of meats and vegetables.

“No more,” the Prince revealed, dripping gravy carelessly on his beard and ermine vestment.

The King’s face grew ashen as he considered that his son had divorced Advent without royal approval. Never before had a son so dishonored the royal house!

… Part 4 tomorrow.

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