The King of all the basin, from Khalenglough to Thamdül to Alfgorn and the lesser mountains that protected his territory, had eyes like green copper. His stern glare while he touched his beard and let his fingers touch the ornaments that lived there pierced Clemnilshala and Folruth. They merely squeezed their hands together all the tighter. He came down from his throne and inspected them, looking to his priests for guidance as he looked into Folruth’s eyes. What was it he looked for.
“You dear, kneel.” Said the King his accent was different from gentledwarves in the restof his city. A Vaniaal in his own right, a ruler at least if he would not be the spiritual leader as well. “You’re much too tall for me to get a real good look at”
Clemnilshala knelt. He looked in her eyes, touching the bronze family crest that was placed on her chest. He inspected the torn pieces of her dress and the armor of the Golden Eye who lurked beside the door.
“Husband and Wife? You two?” he asked aloud to no one in particular, though Folruth and Clemnilshala nodded in unison.
“Are you not the eynnil that came to my city in need and have payed off your debts to me only to accrue new ones for silly purposes such as paper and school books meant for children?”
“Aye, I am.” Clemnilshala said.
“Because I am exiled from the people of Uluur, my kind, and to yoo I pledge my loyalty to the city.” Her voice squeaked toward the end as though she questioned her own motive, whether or not it was the truth that she wished to remain here.
“And you? You’d have an exile of another nation amongst us?” He turned his unconvinced gaze to Folruth, holding his hand up for a drinking goblet filled with a sweet smelling concoction made by the private draftmakers of the royal halls. “You’d drink of this cup and tell me naught but the truth?”
“Aye, my king. This woman, from the first night I knew her dreams, had captured my heart and I hold my thoughts of her fervently. Exiled ‘er nae I’ve kept her among my hearth in my oown home within yer city without and she’s given me nae reason at all tae think she’d make trouble fer ye. We meekly kneel before ye my king tae bless our marriage between a scout and an eynnil.”
The king took several steps back, he never handed Folruth the goblet. He stroked his beard as he looked between the two of them. He blessed so many marriages in a day. Would he assign criteria? No. He merely observed the two of them who did not look at one another and merely focused on the same spot on the floor of his hall. He looked to his priests and his draftmakers.
“My king,” Folruth continued, his hand came to Clemnilshala’s “My king I find myself cursed fer all time tha my heart should belong to this one eynnil before all things. Ach let et be, my king, allow m’heart tae be cloven in two between this, the woman of every one of my dreams, and my mountain that I may support her foundation upon my own shoulder.”
“My king, allow this woman tae be called my bride,” taking Clemnilshala’s hand with his he laced his fingers together. “My king, let her be..my bride…needs a people. Let myself be her people. Let us dwarves be her people.”
Folruths glance slid off the chopped and cut ends of her shortened hair. The funeral cut of an eynnil left long to rot on the shoulders of an exile who’d claimed his heart to beat as war drums in her honor.
Clemnilshala could not conjure words so sweet and yet so true. Folruths speaking was a manner of a mirror back into her heart that she wondered if he was reading her like a book. Her grip tightened around his. No words came from her mouth in eynnic, in human common, or in dwarvish that could elucidate further than thus:
“I learn here. Love is different for eynnil. Love is endurance, ets facin’ all the ages of the world and laying side by side while kingdoms rise and crumble.” Not that Khalenglough would ever succumb “but here … this place, love here is survival, ets the breath of life tha wakes me from my rest and nourishes me soo tha I can faithfully…ehhhh dutifully….serve this mountain. Errr. My king.”
She looked to Folruth, who chewed his cheek as long as he could, his fingers wrapping all the tighter through hers as they waited for the king to make his decision. Uncertain if this was truth from her lips or if these were words of survival.
It felt like an eternity had passed before he spoke again.
“My blessing, your loyalty, is that all? A transaction? You give me something and I give you, what clemency inside of my city? Then so be it. But you both must drink of the cup and declare your hearts inside of this hall before me.”
They looked to one another,
“For I am the king”
They could not take back any kind of words that they had placed before the king. At the same time, from the same goblet, they sipped of the sweet draft. It was thick like syrup and unrendered fat. Clemnilshala coughed several times as the drink coated her mouth an her throat in a film that would compel her only to speak the truth. Like the waters of the public baths near the home.
No one said anything to the contrary. There were no further questions asked by the king. No truths he demanded. Surprise came into her head as her heart did not change the moment the drink touched her throat. So many truths she thought about and her love for Folruth was chief among them! Infectious smiles broke in her face.
“Go forth” said the king. “I lay my blessing on this union.”
Folruth looked to Clemnilshala and raised an eyebrow, helping her up to her hooves. She wriggled her shoulders as they stood from the king’s presence and turned their backs to him.
The Golden eye had gone from the threshold of the King’s hall and back to overseeing the preperations for the Lanh that would remain in the copper green sights of the king. They walked forth in confidence with the king’s blessing that they would be allowed through his district to view the markets who sold wood and candles amongst the odd jewels and fine items that could be given as gifts to one another.
Though as they passed through the ornate archways into the scholars district where the library was, across from which was their home, Clemnilshala stopped and dug about in her pockets and pulled out the small knot made of enchanted shoe string. She looked at it in her hand and looked to Folruth. Her folruth, who did so much. Would boot laces really be enough?
It was worth a try.
She was guided back to their home where they lived, just outside of the doorway, she stopped Folruth and presented these bootlaces with a sheepish grin. What more could she give, more than bootlaces. Folruth took them from her hand.
“They’re enchanted, eh, they’ll never break, no matter how hard ye pull em.” She said, looking up at the ‘sky’ of the mountain where so many hundred of thousands of family jewels lay imbedded in the rock. “Why did ye do that today?”
“Love. For Love dear.” Folruth said without hesitation, his face turned red again. “I wanted to see tae it tha ye weren’t afraid of one single eynnil inside the mountain. And I wanted ye tae know tha no matter how scared ye got, tha I’d make sure tha nothin can come up against ye and hurt ye while I yet breathe…Thank ye fer the laces lass. I’ve been needin’ em fer a long time.”
“I know…Thats why I picked them. Though nothing could ever compare to this generosity. Ye gave me yer name.” Clemnilshala alone was no more, the instant that they’d met behind the cask in the market. In the King’s hall she was re born in blessings as Clemnilshala Noblehood. Casting away her old name and going happily into a new life.
“Ets yer name now lass, now come inside, before that eynnil comes back, we can read together if you’d like.”
Clemnilshala didn’t feel too much like reading.
Love boiled in her stomach with ten thousand thousand truths to be exchanged between husband and wife.
The others who lived in the scholars district wondered what took so long.
One thought on “The King’s Blessing”
Such a sweet and wholesome chapter, this was quite a beautiful one to read. I think you have a certain heart for romantic poetry as you have these two exchange their heartfelt thoughts for one another. There’s a very clear expression of care, empathy, and passion that is conveyed and it really tells a story of them that isn’t in words but in heart. You have real strength here in how you build these relationships and I hope you use that more and more. I felt myself wanting to raise a stein in their honor. Well done!