Prologue - Theodore
As we were nearing the end of our breakfast my father and I were discussing new changes I was making to our enlisted training how much improvement we had begun to see when we heard a large commotion outside the dining room.
We heard a frantic yell coming from outside of the dining room doors, “Please I must speak to King Helios and Prince Theodore at once!”
A royal guard protested the intrusion in reply, the rules of the palace were simple, and all staff knew The Royals would not be bothered while dining together.
It was their only time together as a family and that time was precious and should only be interrupted by matters of the utmost importance.
Another shout came from outside the closed doors,“I have seen your Fated Wife!”
Those six words made us all pause, my brother’s and sister’s heads whipped over to me interrupting the conversation they were having with our mother. My mother and I looked towards each other, and I could tell she saw the panic in my eyes. My mother, Queen Selene, rose and responded to the intruder outside the dining room in a clear voice, “Enter.”
The dining rooms majestic doors opened to show two royal guards holding a tall lanky man by both arms as if ready to carry him out at a moment’s notice. He looked as if he had just woken and came to us in a hurry with no regards to making himself presentable before he came to us, I suppose it is because he was supposed to "see" my Fated Wife five years ago when I turned twenty five.
It had been a strange occurrence for a our seer, whose official title was The Fated Painter, to not see a wife for a prince when he is coming of age, but nevertheless I accepted it and was secretly glad that I was fated to no one yet.
My mother came to stand next on my right side silently guiding me up and my father stood on my left, to them this was wonderful news it meant they may be able to finally hand over The Crown, but I felt nothing but dread over The Painters new words, “Your Majesties, Prince Theodores Fated Beloved just came to me in my sleep I wanted to alert you before I began. It is finally time!”
I felt the last bite I took threatening to come back up again while my family rejoiced around me. My parents and The Painter made plans on what kind timeline we had for the Fated Portrait and when they could possibly begin searching for Her. I excused myself while they were beginning to form their plan, no longer interested in breakfast, to walk to our enchanted gardens and take a moment to calm my pounding heart.
I heard footsteps coming up behind me, “Theodore come back inside we need to make a plan.”
I turn and of course it’s my father, he's been reminding me of my duty since the day I turned twenty five. I had hoped since it’s been so long that I would never have a beloved, maybe I should just run away. Is faking my own death acceptable? I’m sure Gerald would be up for it. I wouldn’t leave him here alone of course I would take him with me. I couldn’t leave him here by himself who would he advise then? my sister? I couldn’t so that to him. Yeah, that sounds pretty good, we can fake a hunting accident, or I could run my car into a ravine we can hash out the gory details later. I just need anything to get rid of the pressure I’m feeling on my chest that’s keeping me from taking a full breath of air.
As I’m going through all the ways to fake my death my father has just been standing there waiting for me to do something. I look into his eyes, and I swear I see pity, but I don’t want him to pity me I’ve always been a man that could rise to meet any challenge thrown at me.
I steel my nerves and nod my head; my parents have waited too long to retire The Crown to me. this is my duty I have been bred for The Crown. The only thing keeping me from it was a wife, no not a wife, A Fated Wife. The thought made me a bit repulsed. I’ve been happy with my other partners, and I think of my current partner Vanessa, I don’t think she’s going to be so happy with the news, but she knew the deal.
As my father and I walk side by side out of the gardens I look over a bit confused we’ve never walked side by side, we had a chain of command and He has always walked just a step ahead of anyone. he looks at me and raises an eyebrow and gives me a small smirk, “It was weird when your grandfather did it to. it’s time for you to take the Crown you do not walk behind anyone now, should we walk together it will now be as equals.”
My heart skips a beat and I nod once more, as we reach our estates open doors, I can hear my sister Matilda’s voice carrying from the dining room she’s talking about paining, and I realize she’s talking about decoration for my soon to be brides’ section of the princess quarters, “Is this what we needed to plan for?”
“I need someone’s help to keep her from getting riled up and your mother is no help she’s just as excited as Matilda.”
I let out a little chuckle when Matilda gets excited it’s hard to curb her enthusiasm. I’m suddenly a little grateful that my father hasn’t mentioned duty to me yet, “How long do I have until She’s here?”
my father pauses, “were not sure on the exact timeline we have to paint the portrait before we can go find her so maybe 2 weeks to a month for that and then however long it takes to find her but I can tell you She’s not going to be too far I estimate 6 months at most, we will send out sent groups of advisors and guards to surrounding towns and just watched the townspeople we don’t want to alert our subjects to change before you and your fated are ready.”
His answer settled my stomach a little bit, okay I had at least 2 months there was some time; I would be ready.