Thursday, May 9, 2013

Prompt: The King’s Window

Fenestra Sharilla Towan approached the King’s chamber door and nodded serenely to the guards. Their only response was to lift their crossed spears so she could pass. She placed a hand on the granite door, which for all its weight, was balanced to swing easily at a touch. The grief inside pushed her away. One of the guards reached out, as if he could help her. She shook her head no as the other guard coughed a sharp warning, “She is the Fenestra!”

The first, a young cadet, snapped back into place, flushed red with embarrassment. Sharilla sighed. Of course, now she could not simply open the door and walk through. She placed both hands against the cold stone and closed her eyes as she pushed through the weight of misery on the other side.

She opened her eyes to see the Queen sitting by the King’s side on his bed. She held his hand to her cheek and spoke softly to him. He turned his head a fraction at Sharilla’s entrance, though the Queen ignored her. She blamed Sharilla for many things, and Sharilla did not disagree on most of them. But the King’s dying was not her fault.

“My Fenestra,” the King said in a shadow of his once-strong voice. “Come, be my window into my Kingdom and tell me all I need to know.” The Queen snorted in a most unregal fashion. Sharilla dipped her head to hide her wry smile. The King touched his wife’s cheek and admonished her, “Go now, my love. We have work to do.”

The Queen sighed and leaned down to kiss his cheek. As she reached Sharilla, she arched a brow and said, “Don’t use up all his energy, Fenestra.” She almost snarled the word. Sharilla reached out and grabbed her hand impulsively. The Queen tugged her hand, but Sharilla held it until she stilled. Then she wrapped her fingers around Sharilla’s, and they shared a moment of unspoken grief. Sharilla loosened her grip before the Queen and stepped past her into the room. She felt the draft from the soundless swing of the heavy door behind her, and the Queen was gone.

There was nothing wrong with the King’s vision nor his acumen. “She doesn’t truly hate you, you know.”

Sharilla gave him a small smile. “No, but she blames me. And perhaps rightly so. If I had not shown you—”

“Fenestra,” he snapped, a flicker of his old vigor. “That is what makes you most valuable to me. Stop blaming yourself. Now, what have you to show me today.”

Sharilla sighed and nodded, sitting on the stool by the bed. She took the King’s hand in both her own and locked her gaze with his. “Here, my Lord…”

They did not move for a very long time.

Continued in the next post, "The King's Spear"

Dogs in house:

Guitar Adagios

Time writing:
~30 minutes

May word count:


  1. Prompt: The King’s Window

    When I was little, Father used to lift me up to his window and point out the distant landmarks: the violet mountains, the sparkle of sea visible on the clearest days, and the occasional smoke from the volcano just past the horizon off to the left. Sometimes he would talk about the closer view: the town below---especially the temple and the market--the river, the farms, and the chalk bird in the nearest hillside. Sometimes he would be animated, and sometimes melancholy. When he was melancholy he would often say, "This is what keeps me sane, son, remember that." And then he would lean into the window and press his forehead to the iron scrollwork covering the lower portion of the window.

    Now I stood before his window--my window--and wondered if it could maintain my sanity as well. Even though I was a man grown, and had prepared for kingship since well before I even understood what it meant, the events since Father's death felt like piloting a canoe through the rapids. Even the volcano seemed to be feeling the strain, staining the sky with angry red the last three nights.

    _It's a sign_, said the soothsayers. But none could agree on a sign of what: at the most basic level, it was an argument between approval or disapproval of my reign, and the side upon which someone came down had more to do with their personal inclinations than anything the volcano might be saying.

    I leaned forward and found myself echoing Father's habit of those melancholy days. The iron was cold on my forehead, except for a corner of it to the right, which was searing hot. Instead of standing up, to get a better look--like one might imagine would be a normal reaction--I shifted right. The hot metal found the centre of my forehead, and I knew Father had meant far more than he said.

    Time writing: 25 minutes

    1. Hmm, interesting world building with the canoe, volcano, and kingship! As usual, fantastic hook at the end! What's with the hot spot, and how is it related to sanity/rule? Tell us more!

  2. I love that the window isn't literal! But how curious that we both have dead/dying kings...

    1. I expect some of that may be your seeing my "teaser" in FB. But I know you write first, then read my stories, and we often do have common elements. And often so completely different. And isn't that wonderful?!