Glad you could join us for the next hopeful episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“We won that war, and the Knights and the Suns of Glory set about repairing the havoc the Marauders had wreaked. Lady Persephone and I took on the task of helping Bog’s citizens heal. We broke our fast in a different medical station each morning, visiting the injured warriors and their families and friends. We spent each afternoon delivering food and supplies to the regular folks who had suffered other kinds of losses. Each evening, we held a community dinner in a different region.”
King Arnie peered at Elliot’s face. “We should head back to the others. Do you need assistance?”
Elliot stood as tall as he could. “No, Your Greatness, as long as we go slowly. I want to hear the rest of your story before we get back.”
“As you wish.” The King turned down the hill, “Everywhere we went, we heard their stories, their needs, their concerns. Lady Persephone reveled in Bog’s natural beauty, but I was smitten even more to see her compassion for the Kingdom’s subjects and her delight in getting to know them. It eased my heart to see how much they loved and admired her.”
“But that’s wonderful, isn’t it?” Elliot hid a grimace as he swallowed a pained groan. “Everyone loved her!”
“Well, almost everyone,” the King said. “There were a few who saw only how different we were from one another. They seemed to believe our friendship was an abomination. Of course, no one would say so out loud, but I could sense them biding their time. I suppose they thought The Lady would leave when the work was done and the Suns of Glory returned home.
“But Persephone and I were deeply and truly in love, and the more time we spent together, the deeper and truer our love grew. As we rebuilt the Kingdom of Bog together, our friendship and respect became a solid foundation upon which we decided to build a life together.”
“Surely your subjects would accept your choice because they wanted you to be happy,” Elliot reasoned.
“That’s what I thought, too. Then one day the repairs were finished. My father the King declared a night of celebration and feasting.
“People called it The Party. A million fireflies lit the grounds — it was a magical place. Everyone in both Kingdoms came. Old and young, hale and lame. We all ate and drank our fill and more, and then we danced and sang.” He took another close look at Elliot. “Let’s sit for a while.”
“If you need to, sir.” Elliot braved a small smile.
King Arnie raised an eyebrow. “I wish you could have seen the dancing, Elliot. Some glided across the ground like syrup and melting butter. Others swooped and flittered in the air, diving and fluttering like leaves on the wind. Some scampered along, twirling and swirling like diminutive dervishes. The rest leaped and hopped, jumped and bounced their way around the grounds like raindrops splattering on the pond.
“And the singing! Music rang through the air all night long. The sky was filled with harmonies of peeps and croaks and wonks and barrumphs, tweets and warbles, honks and hoots, whistles and buzzes and barks and howls that would have been heard in the Kingdom of Fen, if anyone had stayed home to hear them.
“The Party became legend, and there has never been another to match it. People in both kingdoms still talk about it, and when they do smiles spread from their hearts to their faces for all the world to see.”
Even through the haze of pain veiling his eyes, Elliot could see the King’s smile betrayed his heart.
“Yes,” King Arnie whispered, “The Party was my last night of pure happiness.”
To be continued…