• Jeff Costa

The Scared King (Short Story)


João Pedro, 14

The prince Mark, heir to the throne of the small kingdom of Licamham, has been prepared for 15 years to take the throne when his father, the King Henry, the Great, died. However, not always, was he the heir. The prince Mark had a big brother named. William, the true heir, who was 5 years older than him. But 15 years ago, at the time William was 20 years old, he fought in the battle of Otolder, in the middle of the Second Licamham-Britsburia War (which started 30 years ago and has never ended), against the soldiers of the Britsburian Empire, who were trying to conquer the city. In the middle of the battle, Mark's brother was brutally hurt and many soldiers said he died. But the soldiers have never found his body and anyone has never ever seen him again. And since then, Mark has been prepared to take the throne, what will happen now with the death of the king in a battle against the Britsburians that happened yesterday.

Actually, prince Mark was present at the battle in which his father died. Because of already being a 30-year-old man, the heir had already fought in the great war at many battles. But not because of being forced to fight, just like the teens of the kingdom who turned 17 years, but by the fact of having been educated since he was born, even before his brother's apparent death, to defend his people at any cost. So, even being a little unsure and afraid of dying during a battle just like his brother, he was appointed captain of the Licamhamian army, and he fought together with his father, who was a general.

Some days ago, the soldiers of Britsburia took the city of Mantanburg and were intending to use it as a way of "cutting corners" and then, enter and take the capital of Licamham, the city of Denston. Mark, together with his father and his army, entered the city to take it back. With that, an intense battle began, with many casualties on both sides. Henry, the King, was furious watching his men dying, so he took his horse and went to the enemy base. However, one of the enemy archers hit him with an arrow that went through his belly.

- Dad! - screamed Mark, on a mix of sadness and anger. So the prince ran as fast as he could to remove his father's body from there, taking him behind a wall, for not being struck.

- D-D-Dad! - screamed Mark feeling tears falling from his eyes. He couldn't even say goodbye to the man who raised him since he was born. As much during the easy moments as during the hard moments, like the deaths of Mark's brother and mother. Because of that, people called him Henry, the Great, because he never gave up on fighting for the good of his people. These were the scars of the war, the war that had started so much time ago that if it were up to the Licamhamians, would have already ended. However, the war, that began because of the Britsburian Emperor's selfishness and search for conquering new territories, couldn't end, because the freedom of the citizens of Licamham would be at stake

After the king's death, Mark retreated taking with him his father's dead body to have a worthy burial. He was afraid, scared. Mark already knew his fate: he would be crowned. "But could a good king be scared" he thought "No! A good king like my father would never be scared or afraid".

After the end of the burial, the coronation ceremony began, in which the now king Mark ordered to be as respectful as possible, to pay respect to his father.

But Mark didn't know if he'd be a good king. He couldn't even save his father. Maybe if his brother, William, was there, he would've done something, maybe even won the battle. He was the true heir. He would've never retreated and would've even died for the good of the people. Mark remembered the brother as an honored man who had taken after the father's better characteristics: as being a great strategist and never surrendering to the enemy.

- Majesty! - called Edward, the king's Messenger - We have just received a letter from lieutenant Philip. He said that after we lost Mantanburg for the Britsburians, they advanced more, but his battalion surprised them and now they are battling in Otolder to take control of the city and advance to our capital.

"Otolder", thought Mark, feeling a chill down his spine. Only hearing that name made the king feel being at the bottom of a well, with no help, alone, afraid. Otolder was the city where William was last seen. Since then, Mark had never ever been there, because just remembering that city reminded him of his brother's death.

- He has also asked Your Majesty to send some troops... - continued Edward - ... and, if it is possible, he asks Your Majesty to go there to help them.

After hearing this, he felt being stabbed in the chest. He wasn't prepared, he wasn't ready, he was afraid of dying. "No!!" thought Mark "A good king never runs away from danger if that is necessary for the people. A good king fights until his last breath".

- Okay, I will go. Organize some troops while I get my horse.