The Wrong Children

Despite his unwanted wife, despite his father’s harshness in regards to marrying, Muric had children. Four of them, two sons and two daughters. His eldest was a son, which was considered a blessing, but as he walked by their doors, he cared little.

They had straight hair, lighter than their father’s. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. The hair should have been dark and curly, a tangled mess. It was true he preferred the hair of his wife, Jessica, to that of his previous lover, but hair was not a person.

The eyes were green and blue among the children, but that shouldn’t have happened either. They should have been the color of roasted almonds. “To hell with sapphires and emeralds. I had all the treasure I required.” He rested his forehead against one of the wood doors and clenched his fists, weeping.

A door opened, and out stumbled Alice. She had her mother’s eyes and hair, the child most resembling mother and the youngest of the get. “Father?” She wiped her eyes and yawned. In her arms she held the blanket her grandmother made her when she was born. “Father, why are you here?”

The statement stung. He never went to see the children. Why was he there? “I needed to take a walk.”

“Oh. Do you want to see my room, father?” The child walked to Muric and took his hand in hers. She had small, delicate hands. “I don’t know if you ever saw my room.”

“I would love to see your room, my lady.”

She dragged him in and started pointing out her dolls, their names, and what they’ve all done before, usually in regards to mom and the other children. Her bed was pleasing with its plushness and she bounced a few times on it, giggling. Muric just watched, admiring, voicing his admiration from time to time.

It was nearly an hour when she yawned again, looking up at Muric, “Daddy, would you tuck me in and tell me a story? I’m quite sleepy now, and you should go back to mommy. You look silly in the cloak.”

“I will, my sweetling.” And so he tucked her into bed and told her a story of King Renold and his bravery in battle, until her heavy eyes shut. He left silently, heading back to his bed chamber.

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Demands of Father

Muric walked down the corridor, naked under the cloak, wandering idly as he let his mind roam back to the night he married his wife.

It was in the ballroom of his father’s castle, where everything was lavish. Women poured in all intent on meeting Muric, to claim him and his castle as their own domain, to chain him to a bed and have him put child after child in their bellies. There had been many balls, and every time Muric remained on the edge of the party, barely getting to know the girls. His father would ask if he found a future wife, and Muric would say none interested him.

The years passed, and Muric’s father became more insistent, “Man doesn’t breed keeping his eyes upon the past. Move forward. Find a new womb for your seed.”

Then there was the final ball. Muric stood aloof in a corner with his friends when his father approached him. “Muric, look at the women in this room. Pick the most attractive. You will marry her tonight.” His father’s red face drove his friends off.

“But father….”

“Enough pining for some bitch. I don’t give a damn what your criteria is. If you want some youthful maiden or some smoldering temptress that has likely seen more than a few turns, I don’t give a damn. If it’s based on her face, tits, wealth, I don’t care. But you will not dwell on past mistakes, you will look at one of these and you will marry her tonight. And then you will go into her and give me some grandsons.”

“But father….” Muric hadn’t let her go. He gave her too much and held nothing back to give anyone else. Only too late did he realize she took everything and gave nothing.

“No, boy. If you do not marry this night I send you into exile and if you are found wandering any of the kingdoms bending knee to my banner, you will be executed. Now look around, speak to them if you must, and find where you’ll start plowing.” Then father walked off, putting on his happiest face, carousing as he did so well.

There was a woman with hair the color of sunshine, straight and long, with two braids going from her bangs to the back of her head. She had a delightful form, far more beautiful than any he had held previous, with ample breasts which were not overwhelming and hips that a man could hold firmly while making love. Her emerald eyes were a rare treasure indeed, and color he had lusted for in youth. It could all be his.

Within thirty minutes of the scolding, he marched up to father and said, “That one, there. I’ll wed her.”

Approvingly, his father nodded, and the priest was summoned.

Walking the dark halls, remembering the past, Muric mumbled, “That one. Like you were chattel. I’m sorry, Jessica.” He continued his walk.