It’s been busy.
Once upon a time, there was a King who had two sons. One was tall with long blonde hair and broad shoulders. His name was Tristan. The other son was shorter, older with cropped chestnut brown hair, and the beginnings of a beard forming around his jaw.
The King was content with his heirs. Two respectable young men who could hold their own in a battle. He raised them all on his own, with a little help from the maiden who lived within the castle, but she was a lowly peasant and would not be given credit for anything.
It came a time where the men must choose a wife. A woman on the throne appeased the people of the kingdom and helped the men keep up appearances. The King held a contest: Bachelor style. The pressure was on for the oldest son, Tristan to find a respectable, well presented, noble wife to rule beside him when his father passed on the kingdom.
The youngest son didn’t have the same expectations over his head. So little rested in his hands, his name wasn’t even known by those of the kingdom. Everyone presumed that he would be killed in a battle before he could collect his first tithe. Let me tell you, friends, to never underestimate those who are lesser, even if they are above yourself. Remember their names because they will remember yours.
The day the women arrived, they were followed each by a servant of both male and female orientations. The Tristan and his brother stared out into the courtyard from the window high up in the castle, watching the women shoo away their fussing mothers, and accept last goodbyes from their fathers who pushed the servants along behind their daughters.
Tristan smiled at it all, scanning the eligible bachelorettes for a face that he would like to wake up to every morning. A face that would represent the kingdom in the years to come. Someone who would age gracefully with him. The youngest son just starred.
Lips pursed together, he held back a scowl at this nonsense; they were never going to find love this way. Buth their father didn’t want love for them, nor happiness. He just wanted heirs and a for the kingdom to remain in his family. Foolish really, the younger brother thought. Would all mean nothing when he is dead?
The boys stood and watched until all the women had entered the castle. Their rooms had been set up by handmaidens provided by the King himself. Only the best for his sons’ future wife.
“Let us refresh. We will meet the ladies for dinner.” The King spoke from behind them. Hope resonated in his deep voice as he clapped a hand on each of his sons’ shoulder and squeezed. Again the younger brother tried his best not to wince or flinch and stayed positive for his father’s sake.
“Yes, lets.” Tristan replied joyously, flashing a mischievous smile at his brother before calling for a guard to escort them down to their temporary lodging.
The trio followed five armed men through the castle. Bridges connected each wing of the castle and spanned across the top of the main ballroom, with staircases leading to the upper and lower rooms. Making it to the top-most floor in the east wing, the King and his sons were greeted by servants who knelt at their feet and pledged their allegiance to the King current and future. The current King had ensured that their three rooms were heavily guarded and away from the guests and were well stocked with servants of course.
The youngest son took in his room and wasn’t sure whether to be happy or angry. Someone had gone through his room at home and brought over his treasure box. He touched the lid of the carved wooden box and did a quick visual sweep of his room to make sure there were no unexpected guests, before lifting it.
He placed the lid on the floor beside the box and frantically shuffled through the contents to ensure nothing had been moved or removed. No one knew what was in here, not even Tristan. He pulled out letter after letter after letter, reading the dates and counting them in his head. 27 in total. A few flower petals and blades of grass fell out with the letters and the younger brother smiled.
Those nights in another garden. Lying on the grass, exchanging letters and reading them out to each other in soft low voices. The forbidden love that existed in more mediums than it should. Now he would be forced to marry another. A woman at that.
A knock sounded at the door and Tristan’s voice drifted through the cracks.
“Brother? Are you ready? Dinner is soon.” He heard Tristan’s hand on the handle, the grinding as it turned.
“No, I am not ready brother! Please stay outside.” He tried to keep the rustling down and was sure his voice hid his most of his fanatic rush to hide the letters. The wood and paper staining red and green as he shoved in the flowers and grass on top. A sharp scrapping sound echoed around the room and Tristan spoke again.
“Brother is everything okay?” The younger brother looked at the box safely under his bed and smiled.
“Yes, brother.” He replied. Straightened out his clothed, slapped on a smile and stood in front of the door turning the nob. “I am ready.” Tristan looked like a King already. He deserved it truly. Standing there in the most regal blue coat, all he needed was the right crown atop his head and he could move mountains with his charm.
“Let’s meet the ladies.”
“Lets.” Tristan grabbed his brother’s arm, leading him down to the dining hall where 15 noble women sat all beautifully groomed and dressed up, expecting to be the wives of the King’s sons.
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4 thoughts on “Over Her Face (SW#23) – Short Story”
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I’m glad you like it. I’ve worked really hard to get it to where it is now 🙂