At Rutnam’s heroic burial during the dusk of that battle-ridden day, very few tears were shed, there was more of a lingering uncertainty as to the direction this small community had to take upon the passing of a leader who had served for 50 years in the ruling committee, and 22 years as the sole leader of Aasman.
Everyone looked beleaguered, unsure as to who will take Rutnam’s mantle. And then the wily old aide of Rutnam stood up feebly from his chair and declared, in his feeble, breaking voice- The one who conquered Rutnam in the war should succeed him as the leader of the nation- that little nation in the form of Aasman. And so The King in his eventful voyage had found his own kingdom alas.
“We will progress,” The King proclaimed, after spending a good hour mulling over and digesting his new position as the leader. He looked cautiously at his people, his new commands, knowing that he is planting upon them an idea that they were not used to for decades.
There was utter silence. Suddenly, the same wily old aide of Rutnam clapped, as if the proclamation by The King was the best he had ever heard in his life. And today, the kingdom of Aasman was formed. It still retains the same small community size, but it has a more comfortable lifestyle thanks to The King’s progressive thoughts.
The old man who clapped died one week after he openly declared The King as the new King. His potrait still hangs over the main ballroom, as The King pays tribute to the one who had appointed him to be who he is today. But as The King looked at the portrait on this New Year’s Day, a small flicker of thought appeared in his mind. How would he explain about this portrait should anyone ask him what is the significance of the man in the portrait? What if his own son asks it?
The King has been doing too much of thinking of late. He is nervous. The time is drawing closer. The New Year has just dawned. It’s time to light the lamps, and make this a colorful event. As the palace workers and guard set about to do exactly that, The King still has the worry seeded in his mind.
And then a guard’s quick steps down the stairs were heard. Out of the many workers jostling around the castle and the noise outside of it, The King instinctively knew that this guard’s steps are the steps he was awaiting for. A female cook came about and served a platter of sweets right on The King’s face. There was a brimming smile of the guard’s face.
“You have a prince,” the guard said. The King took a sweet and munched delightfully. A fellow palace keeper bent down and lit a divine lamp at a corner of the ballroom.
And so our story begins- with the birth of this prince. Because this tale belongs to the prince, and not the king- as the title might have suggested to you so far. The prince was born exactly when the sun was rising steadily on the New Year’s Day for Aasman.
The kingdom greeted the prince’s arrival with much enthusiasm, and renewed hope and vigor spread through Aasman, like a disease quickly spreading on every other person. The prince quickly became the most adored being in the whole of Aasman, despite only being days’ old, but without his knowledge, his arrival had already served a greater purpose.
The King and The Queen, prior to the prince’s birth, were having a rocky relationship. There was always something about the other that had caused dissatisfaction between them- always a point of contention. It seemed not right to the extent that The Queen took a quarter of the township with her as she travelled back to be with her sister across the sea, in a different place altogether.
It wasn’t until she got pregnant that the The Queen decided to finally return to the palace, under a very subtle request by The King, to make her delivery here.
“How is The Queen?” The King asked, still munching his sweet, temporarily halting in his actions. “Very fine, my majesty,” the guard retreated, still wearing a smile on his face.
It was a difficult task to keep Aasman relatively silent and small yet progress at the same time, thus the challeneges that the The King face was enormous even though there was very little threat from any other greedy kingdoms aiming to spread their wings. It kept The King busy.
That was when, impressed by The King’s success, his mother travelled all the way across the sea to come and witness how her second son is faring. She made it quite clear to him on what her assessment was. He was still moderate in comparison to the success that his brothers have achieved. But The King’s mother liked the fact that The King is ruling a kingdom of relative peace and largely low-profile, it served her well to go about walking and taking her own sweet time, doing the things that she had always loved doing. She loved the Prince as well.
The Prince would spend a huge amount of his childhood with his grandmother, who would cuddle him and cater to every little need that he has. But she had problems with The Queen. There was always about The Queen that dissatisfied her, and she would go around and narrate to the normal citizens of Aasman what a bad queen The Queen actually is. That she had left her son and ran away when situations got difficult. That The Queen is such and such.
But Prince did not know all of these things that are happening, he was still that little baby, hardly learning how to walk, who loved his mother and grandmother equally as much.
That was until one morning, as The Queen woke up from her retirement, and walked to her baby to greet him with her normal morning smile. Watching his smile would make her troubles fade away. But his skin was yellow; The Prince’s eyes were swollen. The smile disappeared.
To be continued…