This was actually an idea I got reading the book "Thumped". It inspired me to write what would have happened if Lancelot didn`t get Prince Herbert`s note and the prince was forced into a marriage to Princess Lucky. Some of you may be like, "she`s gone off the deep-end", but trust me- I think you might enjoy it~! Remember to read and review!
This was it.
The end of his happiness, the end of his dreams, and the end of that shinning little glimmer of hope he held onto for dear life for a chance at real love.
All that and more was going right down the chamber pot as he stood there, at the front of the cathedral, dressed in a suit, stuffy but yet much too big for his tiny frame (and too out of fashion. By the looks of it, is must have been his father`s!), standing before all the eyes of the entire kingdom, a priest, and God himself with his hands in Princess Lucky`s to proclaim his "love" for her in front of said eyes and take her as his wife.
The fat, stubby and incredibly old priest stood before them, droning on in the traditional Latin, his many chins wobbling as he talked. Herbert had been taken to mass every Sunday and Day of Obligation since he could focus enough, and knew the Latin mass and the language itself very well because he himself had studied it in accordance with his father`s wishes to get him out of his hair, but the words didn`t reach comprehension in his mind. If he could without making a dunce of himself in front the whole kingdom, he would be hyperventilating at this point, or if not that, vomiting, or if not that, he would have fainted right then and there, in the middle of the mass. He sure as hell was sweating, that was certain. He didn`t know if it was partly because of Lucky`s fat hand was conducting so much heat into his own hand or his own fault.
An arranged marriage- that was this was, that`s what this whole big, lavish affair was about. In no way, did Prince Herbert or Princess Lucky remotely love each other. They might have been childhood friends- the two who would play with each other and sneak sweets from the castle`s kitchen (although, that was more Lucky`s idea that his own.) And their relationship was nothing more than friendly like that. Nothing sentiment, or sensual about anything the two of them shared. For bollocks, they never would.
Herbert could never love her, no matter what happened. Even if, by all in God`s powers, she had grown to love him in that sort of way, he would never love her that way back. No matter what his father said or did to him, Herbert couldn`t love a woman like they way he felt around other men.
He had known he was gay his entire life. No one when he was younger bluntly said that taboo word, but to everyone it was obvious. The way he acted, taking interest in girly things like clothes and womanly tasks like knitting and needle-point, his obsession with the color pink, his love of fairy-tales, it was fairly obvious that there was something different about him.
Herbert looked around the church and saw his father sitting at a pew, watching him, glaring at him. It was if he was mentally saying, "You walk out of this, I`ll skin you alive!"
Herbert gulped. He didn`t want to face the wrath of his father.
Herbert`s father, the king of the land, wanted this marriage to pull through the most. He had two reasons for his motive of the marriage. What most of the kingdom believed was his only reason was because of the land. They lived in a swamp. Hardly any land was fertile to grow crops or even possessed the ability to hold up homes very well. The land in which Princess Lucky lived was quite the opposite, being fertile and stable, and there was plenty of it. On top of that, the kingdom was very wealthy. A union seemed beneficial for the kingdom`s own economic system (as the swamp kingdom had to sell mud for a living).
But there was that second, more secret reason. When Herbert was a little boy, he liked to have fairy-tales read to him. One night, he was being read a tale by the nanny who took care of them, and at the end, he asked, "Why can`t a prince and another prince get married?" Well, his father had overheard the conversation and was horrified. That very same week, he wrote to the king of a near-by kingdom, one with large tracts of land, and proposed to have a union that would benefit all- economically, culturally, financially. . .and it would relieve his son of the task of picking a bride, even if his heart wasn`t into it.
It was a mask to hide the fact that Herbert was gay. This marriage, it would prevent Herbert from ever expressing his true feelings, so that he would be incapable to ever love who he wanted to love… the one with a certain, special something.
Herbert had tried to get out of this marriage. Earlier that afternoon, he had grabbed a bow and arrow and shot out a note explaining his situation, in hopes someone (preferable a big, and strong, and hot knight) would come and rescue him from this dreadful arranged marriage. But, as much as dear, sweet Herbert had wished his note had caught someone`s attention, it didn`t. No one found his note and therefore he was sentenced to a life with Princess Lucky, who would be his wife and the queen to the kingdom. And there was no chance of getting out.
From what his father had told him, he had a duty to the kingdom. When he passed on, Prince Herbert would become king and rule the swamp-land in his father`s place. He also had the duty of fathering children that would carry on the family line. But. . . land and money and women didn`t interest Herbert in the way they did to his father. He much rather break out into show tunes than think about any of that.
Of course, his father wasn`t very supportive of his son`s interest and would have much rather have Herbert enjoy manly things like sword fighting and combat than singing and coordinating outfits. The most manly thing Herbert did was archery (which had taken part in his plan to catch someone`s attention)- and even that wasn`t enough for the King of Swampcastle.
The fat priest stopped his Latin rambling and Herbert`s heart fell when he realized what time it was.
The vows. He and Lucky had to say their vows and claim their eternal faithfulness to each other to death do us part.
The priest turned to the bride first.
Herbert didn`t even know who in God`s name chose her wedding dress because it was hideous: an unbearably-tight frock that was extremely modest with its high neck-line and sleeves that when to her wrist. The front of the gown had floral designs threaded into it. Although the dress was ugly, Herbert did like the circlet of flowers she had around her neck (obviously brought along from her own kingdom, as nothing but cattail and milkweed grew in abundance around the swamp) and adorning her head like a crown, holding her veil in place. Her long hair had been made into two braids, tied at the end with a ribbon and a flower.
The priest began to speak. These words would hold little importance to his life, he had said them a million times before, and would do it a million more times after this with many other couples. But, to Herbert and Lucky, they carried their future.
"Do you, Princess Lucky of Anglo-Saxon, take this man, Prince Herbert of Swamp Kingdom, to be your husband, in accordance to God`s holy decree? Do you promise to be his loving and loyal wife, to cherish and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, to be faithful only to him as long as you both shall live?"
Herbert could see the princess take in a deep breath and frantically look over to her groom of whom she was still holding hands with. And then to her father and mother sitting in the pews before her. Her face tensed as she tried to manage a stiff, fake smile for the priest before she spoke. "I do," she dutifully told the priest.
And then he turned to Prince Herbert.
Oh God, this was it!
Still in his monotone voice, the priest spoke the words that were to change the boy`s life, "Do you, Prince Herbert of Swamp Kingdom, take this woman, Princess Lucky of Saxon, to be your wife, in accordance to God's holy decree? Do you promise to be her loving and loyal husband, to cherish and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, to be faithful only to her as long as you both shall live?
If he hadn`t felt like vomiting now, he definitely felt like doing it now!
"I. . .I, erm, I-" He stuttered, looking frantically around the church and then his eyes fell onto his father again, sitting in the front pew. His face was contorted in such a mean glower Herbert was making an imbecile of himself, and if he was making an imbecile of himself, he was therefore embarrassing the whole royal family and the whole Swamp Kingdom in front of the guests and that was a crime punishable by a beating. "Well, I. Well, I- I, erm, well I-"
Obviously, growing impatient with the bumbling prince, the priest said, quite irritated, "Just answer the question, your highness!"
The entire congregation erupted into laughter, which caused Herbert to sweat even more, his face felt like it had been shoved into a fire.
He was getting embarrassment from one side, and a scolding, describable angry look from the other, so this only meant he could do one thing: say yes.
Saying yes meant giving up all his dreams about love and putting them aside for the well-being of his kingdom and for the safety of his hide from his father. He was trapped, and this was the only way out.
"I. . .do."
Sighing, the priest addressed the people for him in the pews. "With the powers invested in me and with God`s mercy, I pronounce that Prince Herbert and Princess Lucky are man and wife. May they have many happy years together." He turned to the prince. "You may kiss your bride."
Now this was when he was going to vomit.
Grimacing to himself, he pulled Princess Lucky in for an extremely chaste peck on the lips that he got over as fast as humanly possible. The collective kingdoms didn`t seem to notice and clapped for the newlyweds all the same.
And after the wedding, the now-married prince and princess were whisked into the reception- a little celebration held in the courtyard of Swamp Castle. Herbert had actually participated in putting this part of his wedding together, simply because those involved didn`t do not know what they were doing, nor did they have the slightest clue on how to plan a proper reception. Besides, he had always desired to be a wedding planner- just, you know, not his own to a female.
The reception, for the most part, Herbert avoided Lucky. It was quite easy to, actually. She and her ladies-in-waiting were gossiping frantically like teenagers under one of the tents set out for the party, just like she had never committed herself to a man she would never really love. The only times they stop talking to each other was when Lucky was bombarded with questions and expression of congratulations, wishing her marital bliss and the ability to be a strong queen and bear many children. . . or something like that. Thank heaven that Hebert hadn`t been the center of attention- the bride was. Brides were always given more attentions than the groom on their wedding days. It was just the way things were.
So, not being the center of the day, it was easy to slip away in the crowd and cower in the corner, trying to make himself invisible and politely and quickly answering a question if he was so asked.
Next, after some drinks under the tent came the large feast in the castle`s banquet hall- boar's head, roasted goose, stewed chicken, smoked fish, bowls of figs, loaves of bread, along with a bounty of other food. But, Herbert didn`t feel very hungry and barely picked at his small helping of fish and the few boiled potatoes he served himself.
Then came music- but no singing, the king forbade it. Nobody didn`t seem to mind the no singing law, though. They were much too amused by drinking away the night and the light conversation induced by alcohol.
The longest night of Herbert`s life thus far drew to a close around three in morning, when Lucky had grown too tired to carry on and proclaimed she was heading to her bed-chamber- their bedchamber, now. And Herbert needed to accompany her.
They walked up the stair well, up to Herbert`s boudoir in silence, leaving the sound of drunken merriment behind them the further they climbed up the tall-tower, eventually coming to the chamber at the top.
Herbert opened the door to his bedroom and lead her inside. To his horror, he found that someone- the very handsome manservant, it had to be- had the audacity to pull a stint and toss rose petals onto the floor and on top of the bed and light awful-smelling scented candles on the bed stands and on his desk. He didn`t say anything about, nor did Lucky.
Actually, her first comment was on how tired she was after the wedding. "Well, that was exhausting," Lucky commented once the door was shut and Herbert locked it with a key, as it was expected he would on his wedding-night.
The princess took off her crown of flowers- now withering a bit from the passage of time- and with it her veil.
"It was," Herbert said quietly, walking over to the window-seat where he often liked to day-dream about his first love and would attempt to burst into a love ballad. He went to where his bow and arrow hung on a hook. Gingerly, he touched it. Why had it failed him?
"I`m just glad to get it over with," she added, kicking off her shoes and shoving them with her foot away from the bed. She began to work on taking her hair out of braids.
"Me, too," Herbert agreed, looking out the window. Where was a hero when you needed him?
"Your bed looks comfortable," Lucky noted, motioning to the framed and curtain bed covered in rose and piled with throw pillows. "It`s very. . .fluffy."
"It is," Herbert told her, halfheartedly. He wasn`t interested in making conversations with his wife or making anything with her for that matter.
"Do you mind helping me unbutton this dress?" She asked, approaching him with her back toward him so he could undo the buttons leading up to her neck. Gingerly, he took some of the buttons and undid them for her.
Most husbands would get pleasure out of undressing their wife for the very first time, but Herbert most certainly didn`t and he made haste with doing so. When he finished, she thanked him and peeled off the very tight dress, not bothering with modesty anymore. She was covered with her undergarments, but still it was instinctive for Herbert to look away.
"We`re married now, remember?" she retorted.
That was true; they would be certainly seeing a lot more of each other now that they shared a bedroom. That and the fact they were expected to produce royal heirs.
Now that Herbert thought back to it, it was not the actually the ceremony nor the reception and feast that he had dreaded with this day, but was supposed to happen after those events, or expected to happen afterwards, anyway. Herbert knew very well that the kingdom expected that he and Lucky would have children very shortly after their marriage, as it was expected for all nobles. At the very least, they were held to consummation of their marriage on the wedding night. But, the thought of actually procreating made Herbert want to vomit even more than marriage. . .wow, there had been so many times he felt like vomiting this day.
Thankfully, Lucky covered herself with a night-gown that she fetched from her trunk that had been brought up earlier containing her clothing, showing she had no intention of doing anything that night. She walked to the bed and, unamused by the rose petals, brushed them off on the side of the bed that she claimed her own, peeled back the covers, and flounced into bed. "So soft," she commented, mid-yawn, pulling the covers over to her shoulders.
Herbert was exhausted- physically and emotionally- and all he wanted to do was go to sleep, because his dreams would be the only escape from his reality. But all he could do was look desperately out his window at the darken swamp-land and question why nobody had received his note. They obviously hadn`t, because he was now married to Princess Lucky, and it was until death do us part.
He was trapped.
He didn`t remember falling into bed next to Lucky that point in the night, but he did remember waking up. It was still dark outside, and the sun wasn`t even up. Because of the minimal lighting, it took Herbert a minute for his eyes to adjust. But once they did, he soon realized that he wasn`t in his boudoir back in Swamp Castle, but somewhere completely different. No, the room he was laying in he didn`t recognize. He was in a completely different castle.
"Lucky-" he put his hand over on the warm mound tucked under the covers beside him and tapped her. "Lucky! Where are we?"
The mound groaned, but it wasn`t womanish Lucky sort-of groan. It was deep and masculine .
"Herbert- what is it?"
"You`re not Lucky," Herbert said, though he didn`t sound very disappointed in that.
"What?" The man rolled over and laughed. "Did you just call me Lucky? I`m Lance, your husband, remember?"
"Herbert, sweetie, you were dreaming."
"Dreaming?" Herbert repeated, shaking his head. That had been an oddly realistic dream. "But- that felt so real-"
"Eh, I bet it was just the author`s pitiful and lazy excuse to wrap up her story." Lance shrugged and the continued, "You`re not really married to Lucky. Got the golden band to prove it." The knight motioned to the ring around one of his right-hand fingers, identical to the one on Herbert`s finger. "Now come here, and let`s get back to sleep."
At Sir Lancelot`s command, Herbert scooted over in bed and snuggled up against his husband, who wrapped his arms around him and gave a tender kiss to his forehead.
The young prince closed his eyes, sighing as he tried to drift back to sleep.
Sometimes reality was better than dreams.