The Firebird Prince

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"Will you, Kellan son of Rahim, swear to govern the people of Karam according to their laws and customs?"

Kellan's reply was strong, confident. "I solemnly swear so to do."

"Will you, to your power, cause law and justice and mercy to be executed in all your judgements?"

"I will.

"Will you rule with fairness and kindness, and be just to all, irrespective of race, religion or background?"

Kellan replied a beat later. "I will."

A rush went through Zara as the minister raised to crown above Kellan's head, declaring, "Then by the power vested in me, I crown thee Kellan, King of Karam!"

Zara was close enough to hear the sudden intake of breath Kellan took before the crown touched his head and rested there. King Kellan, Zara thought, tasting the words. She would have to get used to them.

Kellan rose slowly, the crown jewels catching the light and reflecting it in a million rays of sunlight. It looked deceptively beautiful.

Kellan turned, his eyelids fluttering briefly as he took a breath. Then he squared his shoulders and raised his chin, looking every inch a King. Suddenly emotional, Zara clutched Asa's arm tightly.

"Long live the King!" the minister shouted, and everyone began to chant.

"Long live the King," Zara whispered, curiously choked up. Asa gripped her hand, and together they shouted with all of Karam, "Long live the King!"

The people broke out into applause, and Kellan smiled to himself and descended the stairs, eyes searching for Zara and Asa.

"Kellan," Zara said as he reached them. He frowned at her and she fell silent, surprised.

"King Kellan," he said sternly, then laughed at her expression. "I"m kidding, Zars."

She made a face. "Lame."

"I know," he said lightly, then turned to Asa with an easy grin. "Do I look handsome, Princess?"

"Not at all," Asa said very seriously, shaking her head.

Kellan huffed and said, touching the crown upon his head, "It's heavier then I expected."

"I can wear it for you," Arkan's voice said, as he approached.

Kellan laughed. "So hungry for power?"

"Always," Arkan said, then glanced at the crown and smiled. "It suits you."

"Thanks," Kellan said cheerfully. "Though I don't much look forward to wearing it all day."

"I can imagine."

Kellan was quiet for a while, then he said, "I have to go now. people will want to meet their new King."

Zara nodded, and he glanced at Arkan. "Join me?"

"Of course," Arkan said, and the two boys walked back towards the stage.

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