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“There can be little that is quite so damaging to the ego of a king than the lack of a legitimate heir.”

He looked around the table. The other counsellors looked at him patiently, waiting for him to continue.

“The king has withdrawn from our council and refuses his duties. We must act to restore him.”

They muttered, stroking their beards and looking pensive. One of the Archbishops spoke first.

“How do you propose such a restoration?”

The Chamberlain sat back in his chair. “We have two options. War or love.”

The Privy Council fell into silent contemplation for a moment.

“By war, you mean we could restore the King’s ego by the successful waging of a war. Against whom?”

The Chamberlain smiled. “It matters not. Only that it be successful.”

A senior minister spoke up. “And by love… I note that the queen is not present tonight. Might this be… pertinent?”

“Indeed. The queen has failed to provide an heir, but perhaps, with the right encouragement, the king might be convinced to make a… second match.”

The Archbishop stood, kicking his chair over in his haste. “You cannot suggest that he turn the Queen aside!”

The Chamberlain’s eyes narrowed. “I just did. In fact, it is my preferred option. Would you prefer the waging of a war that would cost doubtless hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives? Is that more in keeping with your faith?”

He rose and stood straight and confident. “A vote. Those in favour of love say aye. Those in favour of war say nay.”

The Privy Council voted, and somewhere in a distant chamber the Queen stirred in her sleep.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Three Word Wednesday this week gives us the prompt words Damaging, Ego and Legitimate. They seemed to slip together nicely into one sentence!)

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