Chapter 8:

A Royal Wedding

Tales of the Eternal King: The Heretic King Part II: The Springtime of Our Discontent

The next morning, the execution of Barron Bethel was scheduled to take place.

The public circle outside the castle was packed with people who wanted to watch the public spectacle of the execution of their liege lord. It would seem that his tax policies as well as other…excesses have earned him the ire of his people as well.

Just outside the outer wall of the castle was a stone platform, the sight of all public executions. On the platform were a permanent set of scaffolds for nooses and a headsman’s block for beheading.

Barron Bethel of Bridgewell was marched out and presented to the jeering crowd.

When he was given the opportunity for last words he said, “I go forth to the Guardians with a clear conscience that I at least followed the will of the Church and the Guardians. I am also pleased that I at least brought an end to the Heretic King.”

He was then made to kneel down before the headsman’s block.

A hooded man, who wasn’t the executioner kneeled down before Bethel and whispered something to him, showing him a ring on his left index finger.

Bethel’s triumphant face melted into a face of anguish and he cried out, “Forgive me!” as the headsman’s axe came down.

After the execution of Bethel, several others were hung or beheaded according to their station. None of them were as triumphant as the baron was before his execution.

After the executions took place, Queen Sarah said, “Since Bethel’s entire family, minus his one young child were complicit with the treason, and other excesses that have earned them execution, it is our will that a new line take the lordship of the lands of Bridgewell. We declare that Princess Midori of Tier be given title and lordship of Bridgewell from here on to perpetuity.” And she motioned to Midori who was standing next to Xyarra.

“It is our desire that this will foster a strong friendship between our lands.” She then motioned for another man to step forward and she continued, “Since Princess Midori is not of age of majority, a man of this land has been chosen to be regent.”

This brought about an enthusiastic cheer from the people.

“Johnathan Hawker, who was imprisoned by the former baron for merely bringing forth a petition of grievances from you the people has our full confidence that he’ll administer these lands and you people fairly and honestly.”

The man bowed to the Queen and then waved to the crowd.

This brought about a greater cheer from the crowd and the city seemed to break out into a spontaneous festival.

After the executions and announcement of the new liege line and regency there was a small reception held for Regent Johnathan Hawker in a small reception room in the castle.

Queen Sarah, Queen Xyarra, Princess Midori and the unknown hooded man stood awaiting Johnathan.

He was thoroughly surprised about the recent developments. He had been released from prison the day before, cleaned up and given some fine clothes. He was told of his new station by Queen Sarah herself.

As he approached the Queens and Princess, he wasn’t sure how he was going to proceed.

He had been given all his belongings back and that included the list of grievances from the people. He was clutching that list in his hand as he approached the royals.

He stopped about five paces away and fell to his right knee and said, “Thank you again for this opportunity my Queen!”

He then looked to Queen Xyarra and said, “And it is indeed an honor for me to meet both you Queen Xyarra and Princess Midori.”

They both nodded. He did note that Princess Midori looked very unsure of herself, so he went on, “Your Highness, you needn’t worry, I pledge myself to your service. I will constantly seek to serve you in the best of my capacity…”

The hooded man said, “Yes, we will hold you to that! But we also will hold you to seeing to the best interests of the people as well.”

Johnathan looked at the hooded man feeling puzzled and asked, “Forgive me, but who are you?”

The hooded man pushed his hood back and said, “I am King Rowen of Tier, father to Princess Midori.”

Johnathan was stunned. He shook himself and said, “Forgive me but I was of the understanding that you were dead.”

“Well, rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated.”

“So, I see.”

“After this reception I intend to spend some time with you to discuss our standards and expected outcomes.

“Know this, if you betray our trust and my daughter in any way, you will not only have me to deal with but her mother here.” And he pointed to Queen Xyarra.

Queen Xyarra’s golden eyes flashed, and Johnathan felt a chill to his very soul.

Rowen was very busy over the next few days, discussing terms of their treaty, explaining to Johnathan Hawker his and his daughter’s standards as well as participating in wedding preparations.

He did insist that he had some alone time scheduled every day with his wife and daughter. He hoped to build on the fragile bond he had with his newly adopted daughter.

It did appear Midori was trying to bond with him, and they did have some precious times during those days, but a lifetime of mistrust to the point that it was reflexively so, was hard to break.

Rowen kept reassuring her that he was going to patiently wait for her to be ready and that she should take her time.

The day before the wedding, Rowen used the mirror gate to bring his other wives over to participate.

Kit, Dana, and Elli made their displeasure known about the new addition to the harem without them given proper say in the matter.

He spent a good hour and a half being picked on, or as he said, “Hen pecked” by his wives until they relented, letting him know that they already knew that it was going to happen from the day he sent Katrina through the mirror for her safety.

Since Rowen was trying to be incognito in order to maintain the ruse that he had been possibly killed, the wedding was arranged to be a private affair with only immediate family and a handful of guests that were in the know.

Rowen found it interesting that the traditions around marriage varied between the demi humans and humans of the five kingdoms.

With his other wives, there were no formal ceremonies or other rig amoral, just a public commitment of marriage. Yet that public commitment had an iron to it that marriages from his home world had lost through the years.

Divorce was rare and held a stigma to it which earned virtual ostracization from society as a whole. Acceptable reasons for divorce were physical abuse, abandonment, and infidelity.

Again, in the demi human realms divorce was also done just by a public announcement.

Another thing about marriage, in regard to polygamy, it was commonly understood that all parties needed to agree about the addition of another bride.

Although rare, there were cases of one woman having multiple husbands, but those were circumstances of a woman who was very powerful and or wealthy.

The one thing that really impressed Rowen was in this time before feminism and other such beliefs, women had a great deal of power and respect.

This was most likely because they were the majority of the population.

Certain demi humans didn’t have such a disparity between male and female populations because of the lack of a mana crystal. Dragons as well were more or less a one-to-one proportion of male to female.

Woague, goblins, ogres and orcs were creatures that were non magical in nature, because they were never born with mana crystals.

Morgaranth also were of the one-to-one ratio.

He did wonder why the humans in this world had the crystals, while no one in his world, the original reality didn’t. But no one had a good answer for that.

The day of the wedding, Rowen ate a light breakfast and was dressed by a bevy of servants in preparation for the ceremony. He had, the night before, created a ring that would be given to his new bride and it was to be like the rings he gave his other wives that allowed him and his other wives to communicate with her.

The ceremony was to be held in a small chapel within the Bridgewell Castle. It was to be officiated by Queen Sarah herself for she was also an ordained priestess to the Church of the Creator.

Johnathan Hawker was standing in as second to Rowen since they didn’t have a best man equivalent in their ceremony.

To the left of the stage were his other wives and daughter, ostensibly waiting to welcome the new sister wife or stepmother to the family.

Rowen was waiting to the right side of the altar. He couldn’t figure out why, but he felt nervous.

There wasn’t much of a crowd. Some friends and family members that knew Katrina her whole life.

Katrina’s brother now Crown Prince Adam was standing to the Queens right bearing a sword, Rowen guessed that he was supposed to act as protector of the bride and to ensure that he didn’t get cold feet. He was thinking about how he had restored her brother’s eye two days before.

Adam was most appreciative as was Queen Sarah.

Rowen got along with Prince Adam rather well in the short time that he got to know him. But he got the gist that Adam was protective of his big sister and he would keep an eye on him to make sure that he treated her right.

There was a strain of harp music and soft bells being played as from behind a vail to the back of the chapel, Katrina and Duke Reinhardt stepped out.

Duke Reinhardt was Katrina’s uncle on her father’s side. Her father was assassinated the year before, most likely by either the Church, Ruby King, or both.

He watched Katrina, all dressed in white flowing robes and a vail as she approached.

She was breathtaking.

The rest of the ceremony was a blur to him.

All he remembered was her standing next to him and him lifting her vail and at one point his putting the ring on her finger.

Then the new couple were brought to a reception room just off the chapel where drinks and food were served, toasts were made and finally they were brought to a bedroom where they were to spend the next week alone.

Thinking back on the whole ceremony Rowen was a bit disappointed for a couple of reasons. First, he felt that the whole ceremony lacked in context of commitment between the bride and groom and more a matter of folding her into the sisterhood of wives. Second, the ceremony somehow felt lacking some of the pomp and solemnity he was expecting from such a formal union among royal houses. It seemed somehow anti-climactic. Vegas weddings seemed to even be more ceremonial than this was. It felt lacking.

But none of that mattered on the wedding night when he saw his new wife in all her glory. Though he was sure that he wasn’t in love with this woman yet, he knew that it would only be a matter of time, because of her playful spirit and passion for life and for him.

Libido, “Oh yeah!”