Wow. It looks like nobody got around to reading the previous entry. Short of a truly crippling level of lurkiness, I don't think anyone could have read it through and failed to alert me that I repeated the opening block of text at the end! Well, no matter; it's fixed now.
Good news: King Jor finally told me what he has in mind about how to handle the royal succession when he dies. Can you guess what it is?
The Mâvarin Revolutions
Fragments from a Work in Progress
by Karen Funk Blocher
© 2007 by KFB
Final Instructions, Part Six
(With Fayubi's magical help, dying King Jor of the alternative version of Mâvarin has just summoned witnesses to hear him to name a successor.)
“Wait for what?” Prince Carmi asked impatiently.
“We need more witnesses first,” the King said. Fayubi didn’t like the feverish look in King Jor’s eyes. But if the old King was to make the decision Fayubi had thrust upon him, he needed to do so without interference. Fayubi hoped the result would not just increase the death and destruction to come.
Lieutenant Govan was the next to arrive. “I don’t suppose you know where Commander Masan and the Princess are, do you?” King Jor asked him.
“No, Your Majesty. Have they gone somewhere?” Fayubi couldn’t tell for sure, but he suspected Govan was being disingenuous.
“Do you want a search mounted?”
“That depends. If we were to find them, would it help the situation?”
“I do not understand the question, Your Majesty.”
“You don’t? Well, neither do I, really,” the King said. “What I mean is, I’m a little concerned about the security around here. If you find Princess Cathla today, will she be alive tomorrow?”
“I…I don’t know, Your Majesty,” Govan managed to say.
“That’s exactly the problem, isn’t it?” the King said.
“Why wouldn’t she still be alive?” Prince Carmi asked angrily. “She always does exactly what she wants, and nothing ever happens to her. Why would today and tomorrow be any different?”
“Because today or tomorrow, I’ll be dead,” King Jor said.
“Don’t say that,” said Carmi.
“Why not? It’s true.”
Carmi shook his head. “Even if it is, what does that have to do with Cathla? It’s not like she’s going to fight me for the throne.”
“Are you certain of that?” Jor asked.
“Of course I am,” Carmi said. Fayubi wondered what else Prince Carmi’s wife and mother had forced him to believe.
“And if Cathla is my designated heir instead of you, what then?” King Jor asked. “Will you fight her for the throne, as you put it? Will your mother do so?”
“Mother would support me,” Carmi said. “She always has. But Cathla can’t be the heir. Not while I’m alive. I’m the male heir.”
“So was Ari Selevar, two centuries ago,” Lt. Govan said. The man sounded nervous, but to his credit he said it anyway. “But it was Queen Torla who ruled after Epli, not her brother,” he continued.
“That was a long time ago,” Carmi said between gritted teeth. “And you’re dismissed. Forever.”
“You forget, Carmi, that I’m still the King, and I want him here,” King Jor said mildly. “And if you’ll take my advice, it’s not a good idea to remove someone from his position for daring to state a fact.” Govan looked at him gratefully, but said nothing further.
“What good is your advice to me, Father, if according to you I’m not going to take the position I was born for?” Carmi asked bitterly.
“I didn’t say that,” King Jor told him. “I asked what would happen if I were to designate Cathla as my heir? I did not say that was my decision.”
“Then what is all this about?” Carmi nearly shouted at the dying King.
“This is about preventing a war,” King Jor said. “And I think I’ve just about worked out how to do it.”
(Original art by Sherlock; combined with photo and colorized by KFB. Originally of Carli (Del), but also depicts Prince Carmi.)