Chapter 11

King Lander was a man swallowed by his throne. He was a shrunken old man, melting away in his majestic seat, gray eyes in a gray face set under a lopsided crown. All his life he had sat on this foresaken throne - through the good, bad, and ugly, he had been the King of Gherion since the tender age of sixteen. Maturity came overnight for a young Prince transformed into a King, and the days of responsibility came like a thunderclap to his naive self. He barely remembered those years, a faint shadow in his mind, a whisper of a memory.

The sight of his beautiful wife too began to slip from his mind, her loving, brilliant eyes and glowing smile. All that he had loved began to slip from him, dissolve like sand between his fingers; Aseltha his radiant Queen and Cassandra his pretty little Princess were long dead, Elitha his beloved sent away by his own doing, something he struggling to live with as well. He was furious, furious at his wicked old mind and his rotten body, angry as he strained so hard to conjure his Aseltha's most beautiful eyes he could only see them vaguely, cast away by the hazy veil of age, a curse. He wondered often whether this curse was somehow a punishment - Could it be Aseltha shunning him, even leaving his sweet memory, furious herself at what he had done to their Elitha?

Many believed he was slipping into insanity. Even his closest of advisors wondered how much longer he could remain on the throne, and when he would finally pass. But who would succeed him...?

Yet here he sat, still, like on all days, the days that blended into so many lonely months and years. But, today was unlike any other day.

He blinked slowly, feeling anticipation rattling his old bones, his heart beating against his frail ribs. Today he would meet his granddaughter, a sacred piece of Elitha, of Aseltha. He would glimpse a fragment of their faces portrayed in her own, and he awaited her arrival with the eagerness of a young boy, staring impatiently at the door, inquiring after her arrival every few moments.

The End

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