Monday, September 15, 2008

Chapter 19 (of 43)

XIX

Time passed. As is the way of life, everyone copes with everything eventually. The Schloeffels went on with life, and the only thing that changed was Sangwine became the intended heir. They mourned the loss of Fangline, especially the king, but being unsure of what more they could have done, decided to wait and hope he would prove to be as the prodigal son someday. Sangwine felt the burden of future rule a heavy one, and didn’t wish for it. More than anyone else in the family, he longed for the happy return of Fangline. Hope was his constant companion, however, and she buoyed him whenever his insecurities threatened to overwhelm.

Zedwig returned to his position as Royal Chief Mage after a short sabbatical feeling far more in possession of himself and keeping a secret sense of relief upon hearing the prince had gone away. He returned to his previous studies, and entirely ignored those months of his life where he fell into lawless ways, pretending they didn’t exist. From time to time, however, he indulged himself in thinking of Fangline, and wondered with some measure of sentimentality what he had done with himself.

Le Duc et la Duchesse du Fromage were sorely disappointed at the disappearance of Prince Fangline, for they had all but closed the surety that Camilla would be his Queen someday. Both of their children had such a tremendous “in” with the ruling family in Fangline that his loss dashed many hopes. Camilla missed him in a way beyond caring about his status, and mostly just pined after the way he felt and smelled. His presence was dearly missed for Camilla. Al’bert waited, missing him the least of anyone, knowing he would hear from him from time to time, and replied to his letters dutifully, but also with great interest.

Dear Fangline,

I have to admit I admire you for sticking it out in Rascaline as you have, although things don’t sound horribly bad from what you say. I don’t necessarily know the world as you do, and perhaps that is to my detriment. I’ve always assumed I’d sojourn one day in the wilderness, and it merely hasn’t happened yet.

We’ve always known that Rascaline was somewhat embittered towards Schloeffelonia, but I didn’t realize to what extent. It must be unpleasant to resent and be powerless to do anything about it. They like you, though, don’t they? The prince who deserted his own people. It’s so unusual for any of us to leave, I’m sure you’re quite the curiosity among the humans.

You’ve asked me about the state of the more powerful families in Schloeffelonia, and they are the same as always. You’ll have to be more specific as far as what you’d like to know. Does it really matter, from where you are?

Take care,

Al’bert

Al’bert folded his letter, sealing it neatly, then feeling a small pang at least of longing for Fangline. He swept it under the rug, however, which he was always very good at.

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