The prince leaned at the open casement of the tower, looking out over the kingdom below. Clouds scudded across the brilliant azure sky. and trees bordered an expanse of flourishing fields and green pastures. In the distance, shimmering waves reflected the sun from glistening water.
The prince was tall and stately, his majesty surrounding him like an aura. He was handsome and arrestingly beautiful. He eyes were intelligent and inquisitive, knowledge hidden in their depths. He bore himself with dignity, every movement a choreography of elegance and grace.
He sighed softly, ran his fingers through his hair, and turned to face his anxious councillors and attendants. His gaze had a rippling affect on them as they searched his face in anticipation of his next pronouncement.
“I have considered every possibility and potentiality. There is nothing to do but maintain our stand. The King will arrive soon. We shall assemble our troops and prepare for battle.”
“But, your lordship, the King’s army is twice the size of ours,” countered the prince’s leading councillor.
“It is irrelevant,” said the prince. “We are clever and brave, and we have the determination to bear us forward to victory.”
“I fail to see how we can maintain courage and determination. Just the sight of the King’s army will drive fear into the hearts of your subjects.”
“Then let fear inspire them. Let fear of loss be their stronghold. Let them take refuge in their fear of defeat and exile.” The prince’s voice rose and fell in a gentle timbre, lyrical and melodious.
“Fear, your lordship? It is not a worthy incentive. And if they should choose to fear you instead?”
“Then, let them, for now. There will be time for appeasement and comforting after our victory.”
As the leading councillor reflected on the statement, another councillor spoke up.
“Perhaps there will be spoils from the battle. We can distribute fair allotments to the most trustworthy and brave.”
“Brilliant,” said the prince. “Any other suggestions for encouraging boldness?”
A councillor stepped forward.
“What if we offer rewards to the valiant, granting them portions of the kingdom? We could subdivide principalities among your most courageous warriors.”
The other councillors nodded their agreement.
“And, maybe, your lordship, you would deign to assign positions of honour to the commendable, those most deserving of your recognition.”
The prince turned away to consider. Herein lay his own dilemma. He had not called this dire situation upon himself. Rather, the King seemed intent on deposing him, challenging the prince to lay down his position of honour, forfeit his ever-growing kingdom, and submit to the King’s authority. The King had unfairly accused him of usurping power and prestige, property and place.
As the prince pondered, an iridescent sheen reflected from his robes, mesmerizing the councillors and attendants, the magnetic lure of the prince’s handsomeness drawing them yet closer, to stand in wonder and awe around their sovereign.
“Leave me,” he requested quietly with a fluid wave of his hand, and they reluctantly withdrew.
Never, thought the prince, never. The King may rally great forces, but I will never relinquish my kingdom. My subjects are strong and steadfast, devoted and loyal. We will stand together against this unjust onslaught of the King. I am a formidable opponent, a staunch defender of principle. We shall not bow, we shall not be conquered. I shall not surrender all that I have obtained and rightfully deserve.
As the glory of the day faded, the prince continued to contemplate strategies, but he returned again and again to the injustices of the King. A shadow furrowed his aristocratic brow.
What right does the King have to demand that I give up my place of honour? I am royal in my own right. What about my splendour, my beauty, my...
There was a tentative knock at the door.
“Enter,” bade the prince.
An attendant hesitated in the doorway.
“Come, come, what is it?” demanded the prince.
“The King has arrived.”
The prince slowly turned his beautiful face towards the attendant. Suddenly, from the prince’s eyes, there flickered searing flames, a fiery glow. The attendant recoiled and cringed in terror as he whispered,
“Prince Lucifer, the Lord God Almighty wishes to see you.”
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