“Morning beautiful lady,” Joulupukki greeted her.
“Beautiful? Maybe a couple hundred years ago,” she replied as Joulupukki stood and kissed her on top of the head.
“You will always be beautiful to me. Would you like to join us at the council meeting today? I can always use your support.”
“Why do you bother with that silly council. You are the King, Joulupukki. You command and it is done.”
“Ceridfen, no one lives in their own little world. We can not allow a single elf to rule our lives. Even the best of tyrants is still a tyrant.”
“You are not a tyrant.”
“Thank you for saying that, and I hope that you are right, but what if you're wrong? What if I am dethroned and the next king is someone like Rian? I don't think we can afford to take that chance. We must rely on all of the elves not just one to rule us. In a place called Polis over five hundred human years ago they experimented with a form of rule called demokratia. It is located at the head of the sea that separates the two great land masses
near the middle of the world. There were various attempts at making this type of rule work there. They all failed for one reason or another including meekness and greed from their rulers. They were eventually overthrown by a
much larger empire which ended their experiment, but they continued to try which leads me to believe that the idea was sound. We can not rely on 'The Righteous King' to deliver us from the troubles that we bring upon ourselves. Look at Erlenkönig, there was no more righteous king than he, and his goodness saw the Village through two hundred years of peaceful prosperity, but in the end, after his demise the Kingdom returned to its spiteful, back stabbing ways with Rian undermining many of the council's decisions.”
“What of the son you will eventually have. Do you think he will relinquish his right to the elfin throne so easily?”
Dyndoeth and Bréagán entered the hall together, followed closely by Lumi and Chroi and not long after by the two humans. Joulupukki greeted each with a smile and a heartfelt,
“Good morning. I hope you slept well.”
When he asked Bréagán, his response was,
“It has been so long since I've slept in a proper bed, I'd forgotten what it felt like. I slept very well.”
Jessica responded “father and I, also, slept quite nicely, thank you.” Her gaze fixed on her husband to be and asked him, “You look tired my love, did you sleep at all?”
“Thank you for your concern but I am fine,” he said as he squeezed her hand. “I just want to get this day under way. There is so much to be done in the next few weeks.” He looked back at Ceridfen and rejoined their earlier conversation, “In answer to your question regarding a potential heir to the elfin throne that we might produce,” he slipped his arm around Jessica and she blushed, laying here head against his chest, “if we raise the child correctly, he, or perhaps she, will have neither need nor desire to be king. Don't get me wrong, I have no doubt of his eventual greatness, greater than any of the Kings before him including me and even Erlenkönig. I believe that Erlenkönig saw deeper into the future than just us. I believe what he really fought for was the next of his line, the one who will bring at least a semblance of peace to the world, if for but one moon in the cycle of the seasons.” He bowed his head and whispered, “if only for one moon.” He was very tired.
“I will accompany you Joulupukki.” Ceridfen stepped from the hall calling two of the older elfin children to ask them to watch the cottage and make sure the younger ones were fed. She grabbed a shawl and followed her husband as they left the cottage.
Joulupukki turned to Jessica.
“I think for now, it would be best for you and Raðulfr to stay at the cottage. It is not everyday that the council sees a human and I would not want them to be distracted from the issues at hand.”
Jessica smiled and nodded her head, giving him a kiss.
“For luck,” she said, as Raðulfr assured him,
“I understand,” shaking his hand.
“Don't worry,” Chroi said to Joulupukki. “ We will keep each other company.” She took Jessica's arm before noticing the sour look on Lumi's face. “Sweet Lumi, I would like to join you but I am still less than fully recovered. I think it best if I stay here. Beside, we have many 'female' things to talk about.”
Joulupukki and Lumi turned and left the cottage as Chroi guided Jessica to a more private room. One of the older elfin children entered the eating hall and saw Raðulfr's confused face and asked him if he would like some morning meal. His expression brightened at this and he politely acquiesced to the offer, starting a conversation and following her from the hall.
Copyright © James Inman | Year Posted 2021