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A King's Predicament

A Milestone Long Overdue

The king stood on his balcony. His eyes watched his bride-to-be intently, not losing sight of her as she moved among the trees. He knew she was attempting to throw him off her trail. It made him chortle to himself. With a soft sigh, the royal gave her what she wanted. A distant, elated squeal sounded, followed by pounding hooves. Lady Etain (Ai-deen) rushed for the woodlands. King Conchobhar (Conko-var) retired to his chambers.

He shut the doors before sitting beside the kindling fire. His worn azure eyes closed. Conchobhar leaned into the cushioning as silence fell over him. The royal approached the age of two score in only a week's time. His ripening crept upon him with two hands outstretched, ready to throttle him at any moment. At least, that's what his advisers told him as they continually pressured him to marry.

It seemed to shock most people, but indeed, the king was without a wife. Having one was never his priority. At the time of Conchobhar's crowning, the kingdom was on the brink of collapse. All of his time went into the prosperity of the people. Veneration washing over the king for prioritizing them over romance and luxury. However, he always wondered about what could have been, had he married young. 

Now, Conchobhar certainly wasn't an old man, but neither was he a young man. He fell right in the middle; and, most definitely right into the middle of a rising concern. Having not married yet, the fate of the kingdom teetered on a questionable edge. The king did not have an heir; or, as rumors whispered, no proper heir. That left uncertainty for the future, which had become a recent concern to the people seeing that all other issues were absolved. Seemingly, it was one thing after another. It made the man groan in frustration.

So, in order to appease his people, Conchobhar had his advisers look into any potential matches. Sure enough, they found dozens of available princesses, widowed queens, and ladies of the court for him to choose from. Out of all of them, he chose Etain. Within a matter of weeks, arrangements and announcements had been made. The king was amazed at how swift the process had been. A fortnight had barely passed, and Etain officially resided in the palace as of that afternoon.

Presently, she galloped about the land; or, so he assumed. At the moment, Conchobhar could care less about what Etain did. He didn't want to worry about that now. All he wanted to do was relax. When was the last time he had a chance to? His ambassador, Sir William O'Hare, continually barged in on his few moments of serenity, thus making it nearly impossible to recall.

"Your Majesty, your presence is requested by..."

"Tell her I will be there in a few moments, William."

"Yes, Your Grace..."

The king's azures reopened before he slowly rose. A loud back crack was heard, followed by a grunt. Conchobhar grabbed the chair to steady his swaying body. He needed rest, lest he work himself to death. Oddly enough, a dark chuckle left the man. Secretly he prayed for it. With the way William worked him, it wouldn't be long before Etain was widowed. Alas, he simply brushed off the morbidity and left his chambers. 

Internally, he wondered what the girl was up to. She seemed to have a feisty spirit, what with the way she defiantly ran off to the woods. He had heard Lady Niamh (Neve) shout in protest, figuring it'd be followed by a childish whine. When, however, a rebellious giggle sounded and was joined with sprinting feet. It caused him to gasp, but then he laughed as he listened to Lady Niamh huff and grumble about Lady Etain. Things would surely get interesting in the palace...

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