THE HEIR
BY LAMERTU K'THAEN


This fairytale was found in the city of Pendalu, and tells about the mythical King Elter, an old king without a heir, in search for a fitting successor. It may be based on General's Pride, a war fought in Caael'heroth about two-thousand years before Santhros, although it may also bear memories of the turmoil that lead to the fall of the first Akdorian cities in the fourteenth century before Santhros.

 


n Merinde, on the other side of the ocean, when Essuan's footsteps could still be heard, there lived King Elter. His life had been glorious, his fame had spread through all the lands, his treasure rooms were full, but he had no heir. And so one day he sat on the throne, troubles weighing down his mind as his golden crown bowed his grey head. To end his worried state, he decided to pick one of Merinde's dukes as his heir, and sent four messengers away to summon them.

On the first day came from the bright southern hills Manachin, his armor reflecting the Sun, on his mount Saphen, declaring: "My Lord, grant me thy throne, and I will keep justice in the lands, reacting to every wrong as swiftly as doth Saphen, and cutting it off as my steed cuts the grass down."

But King Elter answered: "Swift thou mayest be, but Saphen eateth only of the grass' green leaves, and each time he turneth away the grass will grow again from its roots. Thou art not fit".

Thus Manachin returned to the sun-loved hills of the south.

On the second day from the old forests of the east came Yehalmir, followed by his wolf Thendu, declaring: "My Lord, grant me thy throne, and I will defend thy country from outer threats with all my might, as doth Thendu defend me with his teeth and claws from everything that standeth in my way."

The king answered however: "Powerful thou mayest be, but Thendu devoureth not only thine enemies, but also the geese of thy yard, and lo! As we speak he chaseth my young cook from the courtyard. Thou art not fit."

Thus Yehalmir returned to the dark woods of the east.

On the third day came from the wild northern shores Shennis, sailing with his great ship Tallien, declaring: "My Lord, grant me thy throne, and I will build for this land many strong boats, carving their paths through the seas as doth mighty Tallien."

Elter then answered: "Thy craft in shipmaking is well-known, and Tallien is strong indeed, but thou canst not control the seas, and her bow and stern wilt break upon the eternal waves. Thou art not fit."

Thus Shennis returned to the stormswept shores of the north.

On the forth day came from the gentle west Fues, carrying a sheaf of grain, declaring: "My Lord, grant me thy throne, and I will make the lands fruitful as my farm, bearing fruits and grains and vegetables, so that no one will hunger again."

But Elter in his turn: "Fruitful the land may become, but thy farm is fragile, and shouldst the rain not fall too heavily, or drought not lie upon the earth to destroy the harvest, surely then it shalt be eaten by rats and mice. Thou art not fit."

Thus Fues departed to the warm and black-earthed west.

Then Elter was alone once more, and sighed: "Neither swift Manachin, nor powerful Yehalmir, nor wise Shennis, nor fruitful Fues knoweth how to govern Merinde, and when I die it will not last." And he wept bitter tears.

Then the cook Charesset entered the room to serve dinner, and hearing the kings lament, he wept with him and for him.

And Elter saw his tears and said: "Cook, thou dost weep for me, yet I have shewn thee no compassion. Now tell me truly who thou art."

Charesset said: "I am the cook, keeping watch over the apprentices, preventing the vermin, creating food and feast according to old recipes, and growing spices in the gardens."

And the king ceased to weep and laughed with joy, "At last I have found my heir, Charesset, and it is thee, for thou art both just and powerful, both wise and fruitful."

And thus Charesset became heir to the throne, and it is said that under his governance the country blossomed as never before.

Story written by Lamertu K'thaen View Profile