Harrison & Sylvia, Part One
Nodding his head, with a similar subtle motion, the king saw the man had finally assumed the position formality required. So the king forced all emotion from his face as he was forced to follow his own formalities for this exchange. Kameron pointed his scepter at the man kneeling upon the dais and with a thick and booming voice, “Stand and tell me what it is you seek from your king.”
The man struggled to his feet and meekly gave his petition “Sire…”
However since the king knew what the man was going to ask for, he ignored the words. He waited for the man’s droning to come to an end, and when it did, he fell back upon the formalities of the proceedings. He took a moment and forced warmth and compassion into his voice as he asked, “And how long will you need to repay your debt?” The king’s question eliciting several gasps from the throng.
The ensuing silence didn’t last long despite the man on the dais being so surprised by the question. Yet once he appreciated the words the man shakily forced a reply with an equally unsteady voice, “I would need at least three seasons to repay my debt, my liege.”
The king sat there as motionless as he was silent, with his scepter laying across his lap as he considered the man’s request. He had already lost count of the number of petitions he had heard so far today, yet Kameron knew with perfect clarity that he had denied all of them, no matter what they had asked for. In fact, he had imprisoned a few of the petitioners just because they had asked for something ridiculous. And from the precedents established this very day this man, who sought three additional seasons to repay a debt that he was in no shape to compensate, should have been immediately imprisoned. The king had done worse to people for far less.
This twisting of the petitions was typical for each king that followed after the old royal family had been eradicated. Such actions would never have been taken by that family during their reign, those monarchs saw themselves as servants and protectors of their people. Unfortunately, the king who had stolen the Central Kingdom, breaking the royal family in the process, and those that followed him did not agree with that point of view. But there was a shimmer of real compassion escaping from the Kameron’s eyes, which was a look that was more at home on the dead royal family. Yet that hint of emotion was quickly suppressed by the all too familiar steely eyes as they fixed upon the peasant. The king slid his scepter to the floor, and when the tip had barely touched the ground when Kameron stood up and decreed, “No, you will not have three additional seasons.”
The man stumbled back a step just managing to keep himself from collapsing to the floor. He was about to leave when Kameron once again filled the silent hall, “You will not have any more time because your debt will be forgiven you.” Every head in the chamber whipped towards the king as those words echoed off the walls rebounding to everyone’s ears, though the echoes did not help the people understand the words. And another silence began to spread throughout the hall, settling thickly between all those remaining. Kameron, satisfied with the ensuing silence let it stretch like a snake stretching its jaw to envelop its prey. The king knew the man on the dais would eventually break it for them.
And it took another few heartbeats, but the man who would never have been able to repay the debt was finally able to respond, though his voice was filled with awe in the unexpected generosity of his king. “Thank you, my liege.”
“Go now and enjoy the relief I have bestowed upon you,” Kameron said as he spread his arms as if he would embrace the man. And without another word the man spun around and walked out as fast as he could with the hitch hampering his walk.