Friday, December 11, 2015

The End Began in the Middle-11

I had the word about the wedding put out to my people, commanding the attendance of the households, and they did as I expected: grumble, but comply. All that butchery left a lasting impression, and they did appreciate my aggressive efforts against The Necromancer, so they sat down and shut up about my ties to Ken and his people- amongst other things. Soon I got replies and when the date got settled that too went out, and when the date came my people showed up to witness the future of my kingdom come into view.

It was, for the most part, a good wedding. Food (for those of us that could eat it) and drink (ditto) aplenty, a respectable turnout of household heads or their agents (some took ill; I verified that), toasts and boasts and games to cheer and thrill one and all. The bride had the time of her life, which was not hard to do: she could not read or write, and spent her life to this point in the middle of the woods living in a cabin that had no heat or electricity so my "castle"--a run-down lakeside resort hotel repurposed into a fortified manor--seemed like an enchanted palace of gold and diamonds to her eyes, but she knew her wifely arts well and thought my grandson to be a true prince out of the stories her mother told her.

That talk about women would be coming after the wedding night. At least my son and I had prepared him that much.

The cost for this wedding came with taking in the girl's mother also, and she I installed as my caretaker to keep her out of my son's way and keep her influence over my successors to a minimum. I knew how to handle a woman like this, so I did just that; it helped that I had secrets of my own that I kept all these years, including the means by which I kept folks just down enough to prevent them from using my sleepy time to meddling in my affairs. (Sure, I used it also way back when to keep bothersome folks asleep while I did what I needed to do to properly put them down where they deserved to be, but fortunately that was a rare occurrence- but it was also very lucrative.)

The wedding came and went. The feast came and went. I did enjoy myself, as best I could, in both happenings. My new grand-daughter-in-law even smiled at me, as only a truly innocent young girl just married could, and kissed me on the cheek. "I promise, sire, to be the very best wife I can to him." she said, as only a girl like that could. For a moment, I remembered a better tomorrow that never came. Heh. Even now, after it all, I still want to believe.

As for the girl's mother, she too turned out better than I expected. That night, as she helped me to bed, she engaged me in idle chat.

"Well, I didn't expect my girl to end up here."

"How so?"

"Ken said you were a hell of a man, a butcher, a pig-headed bastard, and terrible with women."

"All true." I said, "Still. You're just behaving well."

She laughed, and I could tell that she got exactly what I meant.

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