Story for the Day: The Election -- Part 2 #Nanowrimo
We all have days-- or months, or years in some instances-- where it seems as though nothing can go right, and through no fault of our own. When this happens, there is only one thing for it: to walk about in the fresh air, lament your life, and let Harrigh the gardener make everything right again.
A change of air would be all Alasdair’s comfort, and with a bow and a quiet “I will tell Harold that we will beginning court a little later this morning,” from Breandan, Alasdair took up the paper, folded it and tucked it into his pocket, and went out, to traipse through the foxtail and fescue in the far field, Could their kings never manage their lords? Could their lords never manage their knights? Must their gentry always degrade and depress? And if Gallei should ever be at peace for more than five minutes together, will its people willingly accept self-sovereignty at last? And could this election begin another war? were all questions which wracked Alasdair’s heart, carrying with him through courtyard and into the garden. He tried to laugh off his fears by blaming Gallei’s national discomfiture on their sartorial sterility and contemptable food, but the threat of another Galleisian insurgence could not be laughed away. Galleisian discontentment had always been aimed at Frewyn’s way of life, and there was no one stopping them from living a life of religious and cultural independence but themselves. They created a needless distance between our people, their jealousy or frustration at being oppressed has caused so much harm to both our nations. Historically, it was always Gallei that began any war, and just as historically, it was always Frewyn who won them. Why did they that Frewyn practicing its freedoms was somehow hurting theirs, and why did they believe that hurting others who had nothing to do with their misery was the way to resolve their problems? Why can’t understand that hurting anyone for any reason is wrong? It doesn’t take an educated man to know that attacking someone who is not doing anything to you is wrong.and to gratulate in all the succour that the chyrme of daws and the sussuration of nearby trees could offer. The royal monument and the sight of Gaumhin’s osprey kiting about across the canopy of the royal wood did something to soothe his spirits, but the question of why this had happened, why Gallei must forever waver on the precipice of civil unrest, lingered in his mind.
Alasdair passed the sweep gate, and the statue dedicated to his grandfather caught his eye. You were the beacon of Frewyn’s cultural liberties, was his private lamentation, spoken in silence and directed to the wise and noble head. You brought us to a Golden Era, very few people ever disagreed with you or defied you-- barring Dobhin’s father, of course—but you helped make Frewyn terribly happy. We are hardly richer than Gallei, we have no slavery, no serfdom, no oppressive taxation, and Gallei will hate us. Gallei didn’t hate you, or at least the Galleisians pretended not to. You reigned for sixty-eight years, and they hardly started a skirmish until the end, and that wasn’t your doing.Why are they doing this now? They’re hurting their own people for wanting the same things that Frewyns have always had.Will there be other mobs? Will they just attack anyone they suspect of trying to be more independent of Galleisian law? Will they start locking up their women to keep them from voting? I know Dealeanna and Tris had a difficult time leaving their families in Gallei, and I don’t want to be the cause of more suffering for young girls there. The Gods know they have had more than their share of cruelty at the hands of their nonsensical regulations. But is that it? Are they rebelling only because we think they’re oppressive? As it is, I will have to send the Royal Guard there to protect whomever Rodkin chooses to represent as Regent. I wish he had not decided to step down. I can order him not to give up the position, but that would be taking away his freedom if I did that. He was so well-liked—well, at least, everyone I know of liked him. He is a lord, he is fair and generous, and he certainly doesn’t turn out his workers because he has to start paying them a decent living wage—“Oh, good morning, Harrigh,” said Alasdair, passing the old gardener.
Harrigh was perched over the flower beds, humming a Glaoustre hymn to himself. “Mornin’, Yer Majesty,” said he, his voice ebbing out of his wrinkled lips in a strained rale. He waved to the king and turned toward his roses, but Alasdair stopped at the edge of the fountain, to remark his reflection in the water and indulge in pleasanter views, and Harrigh grew anxious for his sovergien’s well being. He crambled toward him, and with a bow and marked concern, he said, “I can’t think of pryin’, Yer Majesty, but oughtn’t you go to see the cleric? Yer Majesty isn’t lookin’ a bit worse for the wear.”
“What? Oh--” said Alasdair, rousing, “I’m all right, Harrigh, thank you. Just a little fatigued I think is really all.”
The old gardener’s face glunched, his deep wrines flumping over themselves as he inspected the dark gulleys under Alasdair’s eyes. “His Majesty has got the furrows, if I do say. Is His Majesty not sleepin’ a’tall?”
“Actually, I slept brilliantly, so much so that I woke up an hour ago and wasn’t tired.” He looked pained and murmured, “I don’t think I’ll be sleeping that well tonight, however.” He would not distress Harrigh by any means; the gardener was as old as some of the stones laid on the battlements, he had been an old man when Alasdair was born, and while his health was exceptional for someone of his age, Alasdair was cautious not to agitate him with any disagreeable news. Everything must be gay and bright for Harrigh: the last relic from his grandfather’s time must not be harassed into fits of fretfulness; his work out of doors and the air of the gardens preserved him, and though Harrigh was not a frangible old fogram, to be kept away from anything that might disconcert him, Alasdair would secure his happiness if he could. He put his hand on the gardener’s shoulder, and said, with gentle earnestness, “Thank you for your concern, Harrigh. If only all of us had your constitution.”
The old gardener brandished his lone kag, jutting out of his mouth in defiance of his gums. “Bein’ the Majesty’s gardner an’ bein’ in amongst all the fluers and vegetables is what keeps me up to patch,” he proclaimed, his tooth gleaming. “And with Peigi and Blinn here to help me, I never feel the age much. I feel the weather more than I feel my age.”
Here was a warm smile. “And we’re certainly glad for that,” said Alasdair, patting Harrigh’s back.
The gardener’s eye gleamed. “Always be here to care for the fluers and vegetables, Yer Majesty, you may be sure.”
“If only everyone was as kindly and dependable as you, Harrigh,” was Alasdair’s affable dispensation, said with all the fondness of a doting son.
“Well,” said Harrigh, with a guffaw and a blush, “His Majesty does make it easy to be so concerned of a time.”
“And I am certainly the better for your concern.”
Harrigh was all joyous appreciation, and seeing his sovergien’s spirits somewhat revived, he said his goodmornings and noggled away to the cabbage beds, to scour the leaves and examine the loam for loopers, hummings his Glaoustre hymns, perfectly insensible of the anguish Alasadir was still cherishing, an anguish which followed Alasdair to the servants’ quarter. He had meant to return to the kitchen by way of the main hall and take in the view from the gallery, the scent of buttered toast and fresh scones lilting on the gentle morning breeze persuaded him to go to the servants’ hall instead.