Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Princess Story, Part 2

[Part 1 here]

A caravan approached the palace by the sea from the agrarian kingdom war loomed with.  Several identical closed carriages so that none might know which housed the envoy.

Inside one of the carriages the princess of the agrarian kingdom tried to look through the curtains to see the outside.

"Don't," her brother said.

"Why not?"

"You know why not."

She spoke the reason in monotone, having heard it more times than she thought could possibly be necessary: "Because every assassin hired by war mongerers on both sides would like nothing more than to kill us before we reach the safety of the palace."

"It's serious," her brother said.

"Deadly serious," she replied in monotone.

"And it's just mongers.  Only one "er" in it."

"It doesn't make any sense," she said, suddenly animated.

"The spelling?" her brother asked confused.

"No, the war."

"Since when do wars make sense?"

"That's not what I mean.  Why would both sides want war?"

"The same reason they always do," her brother said, suddenly sounding tired. "The ones on our side think we'll win.  The ones on their side think they'll win."

"But they can't all win; they have to know that."

"They do, they're just convinced they're each right.  The Earl of Dunich thinks he can conquer the lands of the Duke of Falsome.  Meanwhile the Duke of Falsome is convinced when the dust settles he'll be the new ruler of Dunich.  It's that way all across the borderlands."

"I know but... but if I were thinking of going to war with someone and I found out that they wanted to go to war with me that would give me pause."

"And you'd be smarter than eighty percent of the nobles.  So what?  You don't have to be smart to start a war."

"It just doesn't make sense."

"We've been following court politics since we could speak..."

In unison the two said, "It never makes sense."

There was a pause during which only the wheels of the carriage and the hoof beats of horses could be heard.

Then the princess said to her brother, "Let's talk about something that doesn't involve death."

"Like what?"

"You're getting married."

"Let's stick with the death.  Have you considered that-"

"No, seriously, you haven't told me how you feel about it yet."

"Getting married to someone I've never met in a kingdom I've never seen because a bunch of nobles decided to create no less than 76 casus belli and show no signs of stopping... It's just what I always wanted."

"Everyone says she's beautiful."

"I don't even know her name."

"So what?  If you don't like each other then you can get a concubine and she can get a concubinus.  Or concubines and concubini.  Why stop at just one?"

"If I weren't being forced into a marriage, I could get a wife whom I liked."

"We've always known that we might have to marry for political reasons.  Royals don't get to marry for love."

"Mom and dad did."

"Mom and dad married in the middle of thirty years of unprecedented peace and prosperity.  They got lucky."

"I wish I could-" the carriage stopped.  "Either we're here or the caravan has been taken hostage by bandits."

"I prefer a fight to sitting in here where we can't see anything," the princess said.  She motioned to the door, "Shall we?"  Her brother nodded, and they got out.