Jasmine Snippet #20

Continued are the notes for “The Story of Jasmine.”

Prince Ahearn of Dockalfar, from the unpublished Installment #13.

Only the day before, King Aranbrod spoke to his daughter sternly and in frightful earnest, “For seven years, you have repaid my patience and generosity with false intentions. Now there is only one suitor left. He is from the north, a proud prince of the dark elves. Flavia, THIS time, you cannot refuse…”

Flavia, upon seeing her father’s firm determination, knew that her resolve never to consent to marriage was at an end. She could no longer oppose him and yielded. She agreed to properly receive Ahearn, Prince of Dockalfar as her future husband. The King smiled and, kissing his daughter on the forehead, tells her that he must ride immediately to tend to a crucial matter within the kingdom and would be unable to attend the official courtship event. That was why he needed her promise to consent. As he leaves her chamber, he mutters something about already being indebted to his future son-in-law.

However, when the next day arrived, the princess lost heart and forgot her promise. She’d imagined her prince would be filled with art and music, much like the other suitors that she refused. But when the last prince stood proud before her, he stood in bloody black armor, his gleaming sword still red-stained from battle. From without, she heard the clamor of UR’s own soldiers rising to arms.

The dark prince bowed before her and took her hand to kiss, but he did not remove his headgear. Feeling the coldness of his armor, she quickly withdrew her hand. When their eyes met, his harsh look pierced her astonished one.

“M’lady,” said he, “forgive my appearance, but your western outpost has been attacked!”

The Prince then recounted the details of the battle to the court as, no doubt, he would many times in the future. But the Princess stood in shock. She did not know what to do, so she stood like a statue, still and unmoving. She did not wish to listen to the account of this person’s most recent exploits and refused to engage him in conversation. She found this prince, standing so darkly before her, to be course and disgusting. Courtship protocol was the furthest thing from her mind.

At length, the little patience Prince Ahearn possessed finally frayed. He spoke his mind, “Princess of UR, you have not only insulted me with your discourteousness, but you have disgraced your kingdom. As I did not remove my armor before I entered your company, I accept blame for your apparent bewilderment and forgive you. I must keep wearing my armor because I am still needed on the battlefield.

“I am sorry. There is no time for gentle wooing. The time is nigh that I return to the aid of your father in battle. In exchange for my sword, you have already been promised to me as my wife. Make it official by declaring your love and faith to me and I will fight in your name as my beloved.”

The princess finally found her tongue. ”What? Kill in my name? I find you a rude and woeful companion and will never willingly marry you. Leave me at once and never return!”

“Vain princess — your intentions are now known to me, and clear. This disastrous meeting was only a courtesy. You and I are already promised. Whether or not either of us want it, our fathers have already agreed. And it is why I am called and consent to battle on your behalf.”

Then Ahearn withdrew. Truth be told, he was relieved return to battle. That is something he understood well. He always felt awkward and ill at ease at court, and this one, especially so.

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* Arbethe or Aranbrod — I seem to have been unable to settle upon the right name for the King of UR, even within the same document.

© 2018 DARLENE

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