King of Drasmil
Copyright Ella Stradling 2011
King Gerard blusters his way through life with anger and suspicion, seeing only what his addled wits allow him to see.
Born in Drasmil, Gerard was the only child of an aging king and his hitherto barren queen. As such he was the golden child, raised with a light hand and free rein, secure in his own power over his doting parents’ world.
Losing his father to old age and his mother to grief soon after, Gerard was crowned king at the tender age of eighteen. His prideful habits were thus ratified as he took the reins of power in his hands with a grip of iron.
Unwilling to share his power, he remained unmarried until he was introduced to a princess from the small kingdom of Yerterma. Her quiet grace was a perfect foil for his gruff manner and they were married soon after. She bore him two sons, Atwin and Calib. But the first kalkar war changed everything.
Twelve years ago, Gerard was captured by the kalkar. Subjected to unimaginable torture and denied all food and water, the king fell into madness. Finally, returned to his home, Gerard’s rule became mean and oppressive, his mind permanently damaged by his experience.
Within a year, his beloved wife was murdered, sending his already addled mind into a downward spiral of grief and rage. In his madness, Gerard blamed his ten year old son Atwin for the murder. Driven by the call of Leena and rejected by his father, the prince ran away to become ward of Shirall. But the king’s descent continued and soon, prone to unprovoked rages and fits of insensible stupor, Gerard became widely lamented as the mad king.
Because his father was now incapable, the eleven year old Prince Atwin was forced by necessity to take over most of the responsibilities of government. But this rise of his son led the mad king to accuse the prince of treason, convinced that Atwin was plotting to take his crown, beginning a long and universally condemned persecution of the young prince.
For ten years the prince has ruled in his father’s name, thwarting the king’s attempts to remove him from the line of succession only by the loyalty of his brother Calib and the respect of the other kings. It is believed that King Gerard will never see reason, but the conclusion of this sorry tale is yet to be seen.