The Oldest Story Ever told – VII

Dozed, dazed and dosed by indulgence, the Waterman’s Son could be stopped by none
As he stumbled, tumbled and finally plunged head bound into the hells of depravity
Vengeance was long achieved but there was no vanquishing the hunger of his soulless cavity

The Waterman’s Son realized that asking for the kingdom might get him the throne but it won’t get him the throng; contrarily, the masses will despise his deception but it was the throne he wanted with all his heart. So shrewdly he worded his little demand of the Old Queen –

I am but her saviour, only through my strife was she brought back to life
By all rights and means, I am her protector and her healer
As promised I was, I now express my wish to marry her
In all virtue and vice, I want your widowed Queen to be my wife

The royal court was aghast at the old healer’s outrageous behest, so capably he pretended to be oblivious of the wider implications of his words. But the Old Queen had given her pledge publicly and there was no smooth way to retreat now. A fortnight later, Kru was remarried to the Waterman’s Son in the presence of a subdued gathering. That she never protested against marrying a man thrice her age to respect her mother in law’s pledge only made the masses foster deeper affection and respect for Kru. When night rose, the newlywed couple was left alone in their ornate chambers to consummate their marriage. As the inebriated Waterman’s son made his move, Kru hesitated and asked him, ‘Father, are my husband now?’ Tongue tied the old man became, unable to answer her question, unable to touch her anymore. However ribald rumours about the new King’s ability to perform began to spread like wildfire from the very next morning. The Waterman’s Son recognized himself to have become the city’s laughing stock once again, after all these years.

Beyond his tolerance was this test. That very night he entered his chambers determined to annihilate the infamy he had to suffer because of Kru. Never once in his vehement recklessness did he stop to notice how much Kru had changed, how silent had she become, how indifferent to her own self, how apathetic to his onslaughts. Nine months from then Gladrifir once again celebrated the birth of another baby, though much more wary and chary this time.

The Waterman’s Son downed another mighty swig of his choicest madeira that night as he watched Kru coo the baby to sleep. He then asked her to sit with him and drunkenly he recounted to her the stories of his past which she had oft heard before, finally concluding his toxic monologue;

Betrothed to me was she, who now bows at my feet
That backstabbing scoundrel of a friend pays royally for his deceit
I was once the joke, now I wear the King’s cloak
I piss on their royal pyres while they suffocate on the smoke
Who would’ve conceived a wretched Waterman’s Son as the King, the man of all men!
And yet they bend their opulent bottoms to me, as they shall to my son and his son then
The winner is me! Retribution is mine, all mine!
From now, till the end of time I truly deserve to be just fine

Repeating and then slurring, the Waterman’s son fell asleep there itself under the haze of alcohol. Kru, on the other hand, took his words to heart. Smiling to herself, she quietly tore down the rich tapestries and curtains off the wall and began a huge bonfire right in the center of the royal chambers. She looked not back to her creator, her husband or his child when she stepped into the fire. There was no screams but a trembling sigh of relief as she melted away into irrecoverable ashes.  As Purpose had prophesied, Kru’s existence ceased when her creator accepted his mission to be complete.

The Waterman’s Son had to be roughly shaken out of his drunken slumber. He groggily woke up to an uncontrollably crying baby and an outraged bustle around a huge pile of dark ashes. Before he could even investigate or explain, accusations began mounting on him rapidly. When the fumbling crumbling Waterman’s Son could not defend himself before the court, he was speedily thrown in the deepest darkest cells of the dungeons. For months and months he planned and plotted a way out of the hell hole using all his craft and connive, until one day when his ears began to ring with slogans praising his son – his son, his child who had been now named after the Old King – and he could hear with painstaking detail the chanting of the crowd; he screamed to quieten them down and he screamed to shut them out, he screamed himself hoarse and then he screamed himself crazy but there was no removing the wet whispers that licked his earlobes and lingered in the very air around him.

Long Live Gladrifir!
Long Live the King!

The End.


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