Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BORED - Begins 1-11-18 / Ends 1-18-18 (01/11/18)
- TITLE: Yet Another Wife?
By Noel Mitaxa
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“Sire, your wedding day has finally dawned,” he quietly and respectfully intoned. For he knew that though he might be heading up the royal household, be-heading was always a possible outcome for anyone who displeased so fractious character as this king.
Venturing inside, he bowed and scraped his way deferentially over to the sumptuous brocade drapes, which he slowly caressed before separating them with a flourishing gesture that allowed the soft glow of morning light to filter in at a low angle, through the countless bevelled panes of the leadlight window.
“Aarghmmph!” came a suitably regal response from within a swollen mass of quilted elegance. “Wedding?”
“Yes, sire. Your subjects are awaiting eagerly for a view of your magnificence, and for the radiant beauty of your betrothed on this special occasion.
“Special? What’s so special about a wedding?” A furry, rotund visage launched itself from the bedding, leaning on an elbow that crushed the pillow beneath it.
“Will this one be any better than the last one? Or the one before that? It’s all so boring. Those wife-finders are stuck in a rut. I’ve only had one Jane; two wives were called Anne, and this one will be my third Catherine. Why can’t they find me some wives with different names?”
“Sire, we have to ensure that their noble blood mixes with your noble blood, and we have scoured Europe for women who qualify to be your queen.”
“But those tiresome vows we make! I take you … to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish… I’ve heard it all before… When will I ever be poor? Is there nothing new?” he demanded.
“Well Sire,” grovelled the Lord Chamberlain, “we are making a small addition that should please you immensely. How would like the words and obey included after to love and to cherish? Just so she will know who is in charge around here…" he continued with a simpering smile.
“‘Obey?’ I love it,” the king responded, “but these marriages have all been so boring and unproductive,” before smirk emerged from behind his beard. “Even if each ceremony had been held outdoors, weren’t any of these wives told that I needed some heir?”
He threw back the covers and a wicked smile spread even further than his thick beard would normally allow. “Let me see… How about something I could add on my own – like
“Let’s check my scoreboard…” he said, raising his fingers to begin counting off – a posture that gave his sycophantic servant some extreme difficulty in trying to drape a robe across those massive royal shoulders.
“When I married Catherine of Aragon, she was the poor Spanish widow of my late brother Arthur. But even after twenty four years she was unable to bring me a son, so I had to leave her to her regrets under guard at Kimbolton Castle. Talk about throwing a Spaniard in the works, heh heh…
“In three years Anne Boleyn could only produce a daughter, Elizabeth, so she lost her head.
“Jane Seymour died after only a year, and Anne of Cleves lasted only six months before I had to divorce her. What disaster she was! I’m well rid of her.
“Finally I married Catherine Howard, but she was so young, and it was only two years before I discovered that she was fixing her eyes on men her own age. Such seduction has its own reward, so her roving eyes and her head were removed from her body in the Tower.
“And so today - ho hum – Miss Catherine Parr appears on the scene. How long will she last? Does she have any redeeming features?
“Sire, her pedigree is very sound, and she is surely able to secure the future of the noble House of Tudor!”
“Only time will tell, Chamberlain. Only time will tell. I hope she is more interesting than the other five have been…”
Author’s note: This royal chamber conversation has only lately been released from a centuries-old embargo, as the most famous Tudor King tried to limit the circulation of his nickname – prompted by his boredom with each of his six wives – of Ennui the Eighth!
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