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Chapter I: THE WARRIOR PRINCE

 

                It was the year of 1249 after Grayskull.

                Adam was exhausted. As he passed through the marble corridors, he once again felt little at home in his own house. All the shiny walls and pavements, the intense and countless candlelights, the silver statues, the rich tapestry, the high state of the art paintings in richly carved wooden frames...

                All too luxurious. All too pompous. He was not like his twin sister, who loved the place and always fitted in. She was highly skilled in etiquette and a natural born diplomat, quite apt for all the politic stuff that ran in the palace. But Adam no, he was a man of action, not words. Though he was expected to, one day, assume the throne, he was the first to believe Adora would fit the role much better.

                Since his childhood he was quite an interested apprentice in his combat training. Much more, indeed, that would please his father, that soon started to fear he would lose his male successor for his love of the weapon. Today, after his daily training with Duncan, Adam was tired, but not only from the physical effort. The last thing he would want was to hear his father’s concerns on this matter. Yet, he had been called to the king’s library, and he felt, somehow, what would be the subject of the conversation.

                As he reached the great, gold adorned wooden doors of the library, he took a deep breath. He greeted the two guards in an almost military way and stepped in.

                It had been months since the last time he had been here. The room seemed to be filled with a heavy atmosphere as always. Hundreds of books filled the shelves which ran across both side walls, books with rich, leather worked covers, most of which his father had never read. Adora, on the other hand, knew the contents of each single one.

                The firelight was lit. In front of it, sitting behind his large, dark wooden desk, was Randor Liecherburg, his father and king, holding a gold pen in his hand and a pipe in his mouth. He looked grim and somber. Beside him, standing upright, was the queen. As always, her face was a mix of care, the care of a mother, and sternness, that of a woman who ruled the kingdom for her husband from behind the curtains.

                Adam bowed. His throat dry, he asked – “Have you called for me, my father?”

                His father looked him deep in his eyes and spoke in a low, slow voice. He usually talked like that when concerning serious matters, it was a way that imposed people respect. No wonder his people still believed that it was the king, and not the queen, who was keeping their realm of prosperity.

                “You know I will not live forever, Adam.” – Randor paused – “And that one day my throne shall be yours, even though you and I both know that your sister, just like your mother, is more apt to the bureaucratic procedures required to rule a kingdom, but it is a tradition people expect to be maintained, that the prince becomes the king.” Adam was astonished. He knew just too well it was his mother that was really in charge, but it was the first time he heard his father admit his handicap. His mother kept silent. “I still can’t understand why did you gain such love for the way of the warrior, specially in these times of peace. I also don’t know how much Duncan influ...”

                “No! – Father, if you cannot understand my way of seeing things and must blame someone, I’m the only one to be accused. Duncan is making me a favor in teaching me, but he has never tried to influence me in anything. I fight because I want.”

                “But why, son of mine?” – Marlena finally spoke. She usually heard first, to make the hard questions later. – “What is it that fascinates you in battling, something that is based on taking lives, something that our family has been working so hard for ages to wipe out of our lands... war?”

                Adam spoke carefully, for he knew it was a very delicate matter. He really came from a family of extreme pacifists, who would almost do without a royal guard, if it wasn’t for the king’s council. “I do not see the art of the sword as just a way of taking lives. Nor as a way of war. I appreciate it as an art, just like painting, music and writing are arts. It can be used to good or bad deeds. It never obscured my way of thinking, never made me feel like I would enjoy killing – I wouldn’t. It is just an exercise, both physical and mental. You can’t relate my dislike of rulership with my love for the sword, for these are personal characteristics of myself which have no relation among themselves.”

                Calmer now, Adam observed – “If I liked painting instead of fencing, I would probably still feel disconnected from the palace.”

                His father, on the other hand, was not calmer at all. He frowned and spoke in an obviously irritated manner – “Well, for one, I am your father and king. And therefore, it is your duty to obey my words. You will reduce drastically the time amount you spend with this ‘art’ of yours and dedicate yourself to the study of what will be really important to you in your future: Diplomacy, politics, etiquette, economics...”

                “But...” – Adam interjected.

                Even angrier, the king raised his voice – “Do not interrupt your king! Ever! You shall do as I say. And you will start tomorrow. As we speak, your teachers are being chosen.”

                “Even if it is Adora that shall rule, you will be the one to seat on the throne. So it is my wish, and our people’s also.”

                “So I have no say in this matter. And you never intended that I had, either. I will not question your orders, my king, and will follow them if I must, but with this attitude, you are losing the love of a son for the obedience of a vassal.”

                And with these words, Adam turned his back and left, slamming the great wooden doors of the library behind him.

                “My love” – Marlena whispered – “You have been too much hard on him this time”

                The king kept silent.

 

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