I kissed Ednathorpe on the cheek and left her to change into her jammies, a brand-new pair that I had purchased for her sister in Antriador. Antriador was with jammies something like Oordport was with dresses. This particular pair consisted of a warm and cozy top and leggings, blue and dotted here and there with tiny images of unicorns.
The unicorn is an animal that is common in the woods around Antriador. They are a bit like a horse, but as they make horrible mounts and aren’t good to eat, they are completely worthless.
I made my way, by way of the corridor, to my own room. There I removed my gear and undressed, finally blowing out the candle and climbing into bed. I lay there for a long time, staring at the cedar planks that made up the ceiling. As I did, I thought back to the events that had brought my family to its current condition, which is to say split into two halves.
Nine years ago, give or take a few months, I had the misfortune to find myself engaged to be wed to three or four women at the same time, all of whom, I hasten to point out, had asked me to marry them, and not the other way ‘round. I wasn’t ready to be married, and notwithstanding the fact that one of the women was the Queen of Aerithraine, with whom I was deeply and honestly in love, and had been for a long time, I decided on a different path. I ran away.
Elleena, the aforementioned queen, followed me and found me, although she was in her guise as the manly warrior and adventurer Ellwood Cyrene. We adventured together across the eastern world, putting wrongs right, putting evildoers in their graves, and putting quite a lot of beer in our stomachs. Eventually, of an evening, Elleena even took to dressing up as a girl, and we would stroll in the moonlight, lie under the stars, and dance the night away. We did it all, adventuring of a day and frolicking of a night. We did it all until she was unable to adventure and very nearly unable to frolic, as she was heavy with child, which is to say pregnant.
We traveled back to Celestria, and just before we arrived, I tenderly took her in my arms, and tenderly touched her cheek, and tenderly kissed her lips, and tenderly asked her to marry me. I was expecting a simply “yes,” seeing as how she had asked me to marry her only a bit earlier, but that was not what I got.
“Oh, so now you want to marry me?” quoth she.
“You just feel forced to marry me because I’m pregnant!” quoth she.
“That is not the reason why I asked you to marry me, but it might be why I asked you to marry me now.”
“You just want to be King!”
“I want no such thing, although I would be a good king.”
“Aha! I knew it!” Her voice turned low and menacing. “For years, petty nobles and weakling merchant have tried to worm their way into my life and my bed, all in order to steal my power, my authority, and my crown. Now, the most petty and weak man that the gods have ever molded from clay has gotten where no other man has been and I will not have it. I will not have it!”
“What do you mean ‘petty?’” I demanded. “Besides which, you will have it, whether you want to or not. There is no question, but it is coming out of there and it is coming out of there soon.”
“We will go to Dewberry Castle,” she continued. “There I will give birth, and you may play mother to the fruit of your transgressions, and I will go on with my life and never have to see you again.”
“I have heard that women get moody at this time,” said I.
I was not expecting the uppercut that followed, leaving me with a swollen jaw and a bruised disposition.
As it turned out of course, she had not it, but them. We were blessed with beautiful twin girls, whom I was happy to name—Ethylthorpe Dewberry Buxton and Ednathorpe Dewberry Buxton. By that time, Elleena was in a better mood, which is to say less prone to punch and yell. She was still determined to be gone from me however, but she had fallen in love with the tiny pinched little faces of the girls. We stayed together for almost a year after their births, but in the end, it was decided that she would take one and I would take one. After all, they looked so much alike that looking at one twice was almost like looking at both once.
I took off on a grand adventure, taking my baby with me. I had assumed that Elleena had gone back to being Queen of Aerithraine, but apparently, she was doing much as I was doing, which is to say going on adventures and acting like a man.
My musings, which is to say my thoughts about the past, were interrupted when my door opened. In stepped a diminutive, which is to say tiny, figure in blue jammies. She climbed up onto my bed and snuggled up against my side.
“I miss my mommy,” she said.