A CONVERSATION OF KINGS
By: Matt Taylor.
NOTES: I don't own these characters, don't pay me for their use. This takes place during the Alternate ending of Dragonquest 8 3DS.
He didn't know how much time had passed since the young man left….Since his nephew left. He had spent that time just looking at the ring. Eltrio's ring, even in the dark of night it flashed in the moonlight.
When Eltrio had returned to Argonia with his argon heart, he had taken it to the old jeweler who had made every piece of Jewelry the Royal family wore. He had made the engagement rings for three queens, and multiple gifts that passed through the hands of Argonian royals. His services where still in high demand, despite technically being retired. He had rejected every request to return to work, but he made an exception for Eltrio.
Clavious still had no idea why. The old man had died three days after the ring was complete, and even now, after having been gone for so long, it was still a work of genius. Every line flawless, and reflection perfect.
He felt like its perfection was mocking him.
"King Clavious?" Came a voice from behind him. He turned and looked down, seeing his fellow monarch looking up at him. He suddenly forced himself back under control.
"King Trode! I'm sorry, I was distracted."
"It's perfectly alright. I came to offer my apologies for my retainer. I ask you to please forgive him for his thoughtlessness."
Clavious merely closed his eyes, and looked back up. He sighed deeply.
"My nephew should have chosen a better moment to bring this up."
"So…you believe him? About your relation?" Trode asked.
"There is no doubt, this ring merely proves it. In that boy I see my brother reborn. Not just appearance, mannerisms, behavior, every little thing about him scrams my brother." The king of Argonia stepped away from the balcony. "When I first saw him, the similarity was like a physical blow. I should have suspected something then."
King Trode nodded.
"The boy has no memory past a certain point. My Medea found him in the woods one day, unconscious. I tore Trodain apart trying to find his parents, but no luck. My guard captain adopted him after that."
Clavious nodded, and sighed deeply again. "King Trode, would you join me in my quarters? Perhaps a drink would soothe my nerves?"
"I see no problem with that."
A few minutes later, they both sat at a table in the guest room put aside for nobility. A open bottle made of rich green glass stood on the table before them, and each had a small glass partially filled.
"Tell me Trode." Clavious asked. "Was your marriage arranged?"
King Trode looked surprised at the question. "My marriage? Quite. My father set it up for me when I was a boy."
The small king laughed lightly.
"I was so nervous when I met her, I almost fell over. I think it helped really, broke some of the tension in the room."
Clavious chuckled under his breath.
"So was my marriage. Arranged from the moment of my birth. I knew her before then, of course. She was beautiful, if somewhat stern."
"I remember that face of hers, so serious , especially during "official" events. But somehow that just made her more beautiful."
Clavious sipped his drink.
"Tell me, your wife, did you both love each other?"
Trode seemed surprised at this conversation topic.
"Love? Yes I think we loved each other. Oh not at first, we learned to love each other. Her death was the most painful period of my life, even more so than that time I was cursed. What of you."
"The same." Clavious said, staring into the depths of his drink.
"Love….Deep down, a part of me has always wanted to tell Medea to forget about her duties and marry for love… But we are not common people. We are kings and princesses. What we do has ramifications in the wider world. Even who we marry must be taken into consideration."
"I know the boy was only trying to help the princess, but…."
"It's alright, Trode. Eltrio would have done the same thing. Even if he didn't desire to marry the princes himself. Eltrio could never stand by and watch a friend be forced into such a thing."
Trode looked up, surprised at the tone of his fellow king's voice. Clavious put down his drink, and reached down into the pouch that lay against the table leg. He placed four objects down on the table, crimson red spheres, one larger than the others.
Trode started. "Oh my, those are the…."
"The Argon Hearts collected by my son with the help of my nephew and his friends. These hearts are a symbol of Argonian royalty. To collect one is to prove yourself worthy, of your title and station. But it's also a sign that one is ready for the responsibility those stations involve."
Clavious became silent then, and Trode felt himself unwilling to break the silence.
"My son gave these four to your retainer and his friends, and bought a Argon heart from a dealer at the bazaar. He bought one!" Calvious spit out, his voice colored by rage.
The king of Argonia slammed down the rest of his drink, and brought the glass back to the table with an ominous thud. "Bought it! Can you imagine?! For years, YEARS, I deluded myself that he would change, that deep inside he was deserving of what his station entailed! Of the responsibility, of the duty!"
"But all of that shattered the day I saw him buy that Argon Heart, that FAKE Argon Heart."
Clavious breathed deeply, and regained control of himself.
"The fault is partially my own. My wife was always the hard one, the…tough one. I loved her dearly, like your own wife, we learned to love each other. The day that she told me she loved me was the happiest day of my life. When she died, I was hurt beyond words. I coddled my son, allowed others to spoil him, and intervened to often when he should have dealt with matters himself."
"And now I am here, preparing to marry him off, when he is…clearly, not suitable for such a thing, to be a husband, a father, a king. Charmles Is none of these things."
Despite himself, despite his own feelings on the subject, King Trode felt obliged to at least be hopeful.
"There is the possibility that he will grow out of it, become a better man than he is."
"Maybe…but he is getting married in less than 24 hours, and it will not happen in that time."
"No it will not." King Trode said. Both kings were silent for a moment.
"Trode, tell me the truth now, do not spare my feelings. Would you willingly let your daughter marry my son? Would you let this happen if you didn't have to?"
The king of Trodain did not hesitate. "If she wanted to? Really wanted to? Then yes. But no, not if she didn't wish it."
"Would you stop this wedding if you could?"
The king hesitated for a moment, but he had promised honesty. "Yes I would. I wanted to see the promise of our kingdoms united fulfilled, Clavious, but I don't know if this is the right way."
"Nor i." King Clavious said. "I am now stuck with a choice."
King Trode looked up, in a questioning look.
"Do I accept a small humiliation now, or a large humiliation later?"
"How do you mean? King Trode asked.
"The small humiliation of this wedding collapsing in on itself now? Or whatever Charmles does years from now after he has been handed the crown of Argonia when he is clearly not ready for it. In his current state of mind, he WILL do something to bring great shame upon our kingdom. I know this as well as I know myself."
"I would go with the small humiliation. Things like this disappear over time. But what you fear will happen will not."
Clavious poured another drink, and slammed it back.
"Guardsman!" he called towards the door. A man in armor and Argonian livery stepped in.
"Go and bring the Princess Medea here, will you?"
As the guardsman left, King Trode looked at his counterpart with a question. But the king did not return his glance, instead he looked down at the argon heart ring in his hand.
Shortly, there was a knocking sound at the door.
The Princess Medea walked through, and bowed respectfully to both kings.
"Father, how are you?"
The king of Trodain walked up and took his daughters hand. "Wonderful dear, how are you?"
"Oh, just getting a few final things in place for the wedding." She said, her voice revealing none of her feelings.
"Princess Medea." King Clavious voice cut through the air. She almost jumped in surprise. "Tell me the truth now, do you want to marry my son?"
Princess Medea looked in the kings eyes, and knew this was no time for timidity. Months as a horse had done wonders for her courage. "No your highness, I don't. I don't mean to insult you, but it's the truth."
"You do no insult, princess. I have figured this already." King Clavious got up from his seat and walked over to her. "I am sorry for putting you in this position, Princess, especially after all your suffering."
"After much talk with King Trode. I have decided to cancel the wedding."
Princess Medea was shocked.
"You're…you're certain, your Highness?" She asked. He nodded, and it seemed like a weight had lifted off of her shoulders.
"But of course, we now have a quandary." He said.
"What's that, Highness?" Medea asked.
"All of these guests, of course. All came here to see a wedding, but I must now send them on their way."
"Don't be so sure of that King Clavious." Medea said. Both kings looked at her.
"What do you mean Medea? Do you still wish to get married?" Trode asked.
"Not yet father, after all my time as a…" She coughed slightly. "A horse, I fnd I'm not ready to settle down just yet. But I know someone who is ready to tie the knot."
"Two people to be exact, both of whom are terribly in love, but too stubborn, or duty-bound to tell the other. For two people to go through an adventure like that and not marry is just not proper. We have this whole cathedral, a huge crowd, and a great feast, so why don't we let them use it?"
"Are you talking about who I think you're talking about dear?" King Trode asked.
"Do we know these people?" King Clavious asked, suddenly very suspicious.
Medea grinned brightly.
Yeah, I decided to end it there. Anyone who has seen the alternate ending knows what happened next. Hope you all enjoyed the game.