Still, A’dair did not answer to that immediately. His first impulse was to turn and look for his father in the room.
“Yes. What is it?”
“Your Coronation details for next week. Also,” and the man cleared his throat rather stiffly.
A’dair stood up and looked him in the eye. “Finish your statement.”
“The list of marriageable women in the south you required, primarily Coral City.” He handed A’dair a parchment of women’s names and details.
“Thank you, if that’s all, you may go.” A’dair had been so busy with his father’s burial and full assumption of royal duties that marriage had not taken place within the month that his father had asked. But he had immediately begun arrangements for ship construction in Billoughby Bay, and quietly.
He was frankly amazed at how many of Father’s advisors believed there to be peace throughout all the Land. A’dair would be replacing a full half of the Cabinet, if not more, for he wanted his own staff in place. The problem was finding men of equal qualification and standing to take over the empty posts.
A’dair was also wrestling with the idea that a Cabinet run his Kingdom. That men run his Kingdom rather than him – well, was he King or no? He felt there was going to be a shake-up in how things were run, and very few people would appreciate it.
The first complaint at the top of the list would be, he knew, “But, Your Majesty, it’s just not tradition.” And the second would be the guilt stab, “But, Your Majesty, this isn’t how your father ran things.”
A’dair grew exhausted just thinking about his responses to those objections.
People were already horrified at the thought of him marrying so soon. And certainly, so was he. He, of course, had expected at some distant point in time, to wed, have children…. But within just months? And he was of the same mind of the people. So soon after his father’s death, it was unfitting. But it had been one of his father’s last wishes, and he would not go back on that.
And so he scanned the roster of marriageable women. A’dair groaned. Some of them were old enough to be his mother…. Who of them were at all seemly enough to sit the throne beside him, give S’hendalow a continued legacy of heirs? Who, he wondered, were at all comely in any way? Securing a continued legacy did require a little something specific to get out of the gate, much less win the race.
At least at his Coronation, he would be able to view them. Imagine, shopping for a wife during his Coronation just three months past his father’s death. He couldn’t be much more unbecoming than that. What the history chronicles would say of him, he mused.
Hopefully, they would say that he turned the entire kingdom upside down, shook out the spies like pepper from salt, and protected his people from all the war with his fantastic new warships, and that he had an amazing brood of children with his beautiful Queen.
“Your Majesty,” came another servant at A’dair’s side, shaking him from his wonderful reverie. What a nice daydream….
“This may be of interest to you.”
A’dair retrieved the parchment from the silver platter and dismissed the servant. Many of his father’s informants, at a loss, A’dair supposed, as to what to do, continued to send him information as they had his father. Although A’dair wondered how many no longer served S’hendalow now that his father had passed on.
He smoothed the parchment open and took a tired breath, expecting some trivial tidbit.
“What?” he breathed aloud.
A’dair knew the Eastern Shield was canny, but he would never have guessed on this. Well, he mused, daughters did carry the bloodline truest.
Then he snorted. Maybe he should marry this new Romeny princess. Wouldn’t that piss off the Northern Countries….