Doctor and King, first paragraphs

I decided to share the opening few paragraphs from my work-in-progress, Doctor and King. Enjoy!

I wasn’t a very imposing king, as far as kings go. To begin with, I was not tall, or especially handsome, or any sort of regal. I was not especially short, I might add — but I was enough shorter than average that only a nice set of high-heeled boots would give me the illusion of average height. And I wasn’t about to stoop to that level. Or raise to that level — whichever suits you. I wasn’t particularly buff looking either. Actually I was quite strong (I could bend a hundred-pound bow without straining, and could throw a man bigger than me to the wrestling mat with ease) but I looked more like a walking barrel than the sort of fellow you see parading down the streets with his shirt off. Not that I was fat, mind you. That is, I did carry a tiny bit of extra weight, but not much at all, you understand.

And besides not looking very imposing, there was this problem of age. I was twenty years old, and still under co-regency until I was twenty one. My mother was the co-regent. Yes, I confess she was; and that gave me the horrible stigma of being the biggest mama’s boy in the entire world. What a thing for a king to have to live down! Not that I blame her. My father set her up as co-regent before his death, and I am grateful indeed that I could always trust her. It was certainly a blessing to not have to fear that my co-regent might have other designs on me than keeping my kingdom safe. But the thing was, you see, that I seem to have inherited my lack of ruling skill from her. So we made a pretty pair of co-regents, I can tell you! Ever since it began, when I was twelve, I was clumsy and forgetful in my ruling role, constantly in need of my many counselors, and my mother was flighty and anxious. And both of us were sadly na├»ve when it came to politics.

That is how things came to be in the state they were when I turned twenty. You see, my kingdom (which was known as Averon ) bordered the kingdom of Sharrilok, the junction being in the middle of a mountainous area. The border was somewhat vague, apparently, which no one bothered to explain to me until it was too late. No one was concerned about the vague border, however, until we opened an iron mine right beside it. Then — oh heavens above! — the fountains of the deep broke open. The people of Sharrilok insisted that the mine was on their land. To make a long story short, we went back and forth, and forth and back in messages and complaints and all sort of other tarnation with the other king. Then we had people from Sharrilok coming in and trying to work the mine with our people, and our folks of course were angry and drove them out, unfortunately killing a few in the process, and then of course they retaliated, and so on and so forth. So really, we were on the brink of war.

 

I was not too pleased. In fact, I was outraged. Here I was, just trying to be a decent king, and then politics, politics, politics happened, and now I was going to have to think of a solution if I didn’t want to go to war. Which I didn’t. Most of my political endeavors turned into a mess that had to be rescued by my counselors, and I knew war would not be any different

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