When the gleaming sun rises from afar
And our moon collided with that sun star,
By the time light and darkness become one
The sword will gleam its might to ev'ryone,
The king's betrothed queen will bring forth he
Who will liberate the kingdom from He.
For the boy is he who'll vanquish mayhem,
Through fire and flames, he will soar to free them,
But along comes darkness that will recur…
Sat on a chair of satin and amber…
He'll rise from within when nights are weary;
He'll resurrect forth when times grew heavy;
He'll be inside him commanding his head,
With his weakening spirit, he'll be fed.
Though when the silence of the evening rise,
The boy will pierce the ruler and his eyes.
Darkness shall bow before him
Darkness shall fall on his wake
(From the point of view of King Vortigern Frostenden)
My wife speaks of that prophecy as if her very life depends on it. She was a firm believer in Edelom the Wise, after all. Who would have thought she would bear the child in that prophecy? Perhaps, her adoration towards the prophet is also the work of a higher being, if and only if such deities genuinely exist.
I loved her, and I will always love her. I promise her that, and I never fail to conjure my feelings.
However, all things precious will someday soil and leave.
A week had passed since Queen Lara died.
My wife, the love of my life, died, leaving me with two precious angels in this wretched world without her.
I sighed as I looked at the distant skies.
Meanwhile, the lady, who was kneeling a few steps in front of me, fidgeted. She moved her feet around as she played with her fingers with an awkward smile.
"Forgive me, your highness, but maybe it's wiser if I leave you alone for now..."
"No." I interrupted. "I called for you because I wanted company. I don't have many friends in this castle, and you're the only one available to summon my call. Stay."
"I understand, of course, your highness," she spoke in a low voice with a forced chuckle, "I just feel like it's a bit awkward for me to..."
I directed my gaze towards her, revealing my sunken eyes surrounded by swollen skin. "Are you insisting on disobeying my command?"
"No, your highness!" She spoke with clarity, but the way her feet fidgets around showed her uneasiness. "Forgive me."
"I just don't want to be alone right now, Violet." I returned my gaze towards the setting sun. "Save this small courtesy for me not as your king, but as your friend."
The room fell into a deafening silence. I could hear the low howling of the sea breeze, I could feel the heat of the twilight sun, and I could see the stillness of the land. Nothing could make the weight on my chest feel even heavier than this peace my wife could not see anymore.
How I wish today is not a good day.
"Your majesty, if I may be frank," the nervous woman in front of me broke the silence in my chamber. "I know it'll be hard for you to raise the princes alone while ruling the kingdom..." The teary-eyed young lady said with a hint of sadness in her tone. "but if I must force myself and all servants living and breathing in this castle under my surveillance to raise your sons on your behalf, then I am more than honored to do so!"
I know what she's trying to say. Kneeling in front of the king, along with a handful of sympathy, can shake anyone in my position. It's a perfect opportunity for her to raise the power of her family. However, she's not like that. No. Not this one. I know this one; she's different. At least, unlike others who had come before her, her words are not empty.
"It's a tad bit overdramatic, isn't it?" I whispered as my voice crackles similar to that of the sound emitted by a weakening stone concrete. I gazed at her as my eyes ready themselves to drop and rest had it not been for the theatrical display of grievance that the woman before me had shown.
She remained quiet, but unlike earlier, her stares are now on the carpet below her and not directed towards me, her king.
"Thank you, Madame Violet," I said as firmly as I can, but my exhaustion has already taken control of my body. "I'm sure my wife, the queen, will be pleased to hear that. It's just..."
"You don't have to say anything else, your majesty! I understand. All of us in this kingdom understand you are pained after the… after the tragedy. A real tragedy it is." She averted her eyes and looked at Lara's portrait hanging on the wall. "I have never thought I can cry for days. No one will think you're weak if you show sadness at this very moment. No one."
"How can you be so sure?" I pondered.
"She is my friend too, and your people lost their queen. Everyone cries today and tomorrow and the coming days, for no one wants to live in a world where she lives no more! Everyone lost someone, your majesty. If crying for her death is a sign of weakness, then everyone in this kingdom is weak."
Her gaze that was rooted in the portrait returned to me. It's not the type of gaze a servant gives to the king. It's the type one uses to combat atrocities. "Even the bravest men in Izrecael weep at their barracks. The keen archers of Vega lost their focus with tears in their eyes. The men of the cloth in Caelum sleep in their temples as they pray to their god, hoping that they would take good care of our queen in the halls of the afterlife. The feisty village of Duibhne shushed for the first time in history when the news reached their shores. The Wainwrights volunteered to be the one to craft Lara's tomb so it will never be disturbed even though they strictly refuse to lend their steel from outsiders. Alas, who would have thought the cold-hearted wardens of Chateau Valencia would travel a far distance just to give their regards? Everyone cries; people will be offended if you won't."
The room was engulfed in an unbearable silence and a cold atmosphere that never had I ever felt before. This is the first time I've experienced the burden of being a father, the first time carrying the weight of being a widowed man. It's heavier than the luggage that came along the responsibilities of being a king. A king will see many deaths—a man in my position will see countless births, tragedies, and miracles as long as he breathes. However, not every day will he experience the grief of losing a loved one and the wonder which brought forth another life into this world, both at the same time.
I'm afraid I can't do it alone. It pains me to admit that I, the king of the strongest empire the world has ever seen, is not strong enough to do this alone.
"It really awes me though," Madame Violet mumbled,
"Oh, forgive me, I mean the prophecy, my king. It awes me. It says that there would only be—"
When one is in a stressful situation, and somebody dictates something they already know, wouldn't they snap? That's right, without even giving the luxury of a fine warning, I snapped.
"I know the prophecy, Madame Violet!" Even I am surprised by my sudden outburst. I took a heavy sigh, fooling myself that it will lift my spirits, "I know the prophecy. I know it says that there would only be one boy, but you don't strike me as someone who cares about these prophecies, do you, Violet?"
Violet bowed down. She shook and whimpered as if she's chanting every known curse in the world directly towards her. She pulled her hands and clenched her fist towards her chest. "Forgive me, your majesty. Forgive me! I didn't mean to offend you!" She hastily said as she shudders in her thoughts.
I didn't answer. Perhaps it's my fatigue, but all I can do now is look at the toddlers sleeping so peacefully in my arms. I don't want anyone to take them away from me. Not now, not ever. Is this what it feels like to be a doting father? I had no idea how it felt like before; frankly, I thought it was laughable to see some of my friends and servants beam with utmost delight when they speak of their children. Now I understand.
It feels as if everything in my life had meaning. Every tears and blood I shed, every wine I've refused, and all the gold I've spent. Seeing their faces, looking at their smiles, and hearing them laugh bring forth a sense of understanding on how everything that ever happened in my life leads me to this very moment. Every dust I've inhaled, and every mountain I've climbed brought me here. It's as if everything is just a tiny piece of the puzzle to create this grand design!
Is this what it feels like to believe in heaven?
"Madame Violet, have you ever felt like your life is a symphony?"
"I..." Madame Violet paused for a moment. "I'm not sure if I understand your question, your majesty, but... I think I do understand a bit?" The lady said with a half-smile, tender as a child's.
I chuckled from her response. "I've decided the name of my first boy," I whispered, and oddly enough, the frail woman before me heard my low mumble.
"This is wonderful news, your majesty!" She said enthusiastically.
"Would you like to hear it?" I said with a wry smile.
"I'd be overjoyed! Pray tell your majesty, and I shall be honored to be the first person to hear it from your lips!" Madame Violet said with an undeniable excitement in her tone. I'm amazed as to how she can keep her grace while she recites everything she has to say with so much passion.
"Pardon, your majesty?"
"I'm gonna name him John."
"From now on," I interrupted, "Everyone shall call him Prince John! The boy who's written in the prophecy the book Edelom the Wise bore!"
"Oh. Right. John! That's..." She said, nodding her head slowly with a displeased expression painted all over her face, her usual theatrical and demure actions were replaced by uncharacteristic sarcastic tone. She continued nodding as I saw a glimpse of smirk rising from her lips, which she immediately noticed, forcing herself to stop it halfway. "That's a very great name, your highness, I think. It's good—great! It's very great, your highness!"
She took a handkerchief from her breast pocket and covered her lips with it for a few seconds. She then shoved it back into a different pocket on her skirt after breathing heavily.
"All hail Prince John!" She said with her usual graceful magnificence, announcing the name of my prince towards the air as she moved her arms like ribbons being blown by the breeze towards the sun.