5. A New King
At the beginning of the ninth hour, King Gorion appeared in the balcony of the Marvelous Castle to address the people of Orr. This day was different from the past because neither the king nor his people came willingly. Thousands of Hermonion soldiers were stationed amongst the people and kept a close watch on them.
Queen Nymphna and Ayden, who was no more than five years old, stood next to the king on his left side. They were clad in lavish garments of purple and gold, but their faces betrayed their true feelings. Only Noam beamed with joy. He stood to the right of the king, a short distance away, accompanied by the high official of the Hermonions.
King Gorion raised his right hand and waited for the people to quiet down. He spoke with a loud and clear voice. “My beloved citizens and kinsmen, I’m delighted to see you all today at my birthday celebration! According to our traditions, today is a day of rejoicing and forgiveness! Each household shall receive from the king a portion of meat, bread, and wine.”
The people groaned, but King Gorion continued, “I’m aware that today’s celebration is not the same as in the past. For today is a day of great tragedy and lamentation for the loss of our homes to a foreign army! Nonetheless, I urge you to follow in the footsteps of our forefathers, who had patiently waited for the salvation of our God. I assure you that Prince Ayron will return one day to deliver our kingdom from the hands of our enemies!”
The people mumbled amongst themselves. “Is this a show the Royals put up for us to watch?” “What is King Gorion talking about? I haven’t a clue what’s going on.” “I was told King Gorion is the traitor, and the Hermonions are our friends.” “No, King Gorion is our goodly king. Noam is the traitor!” “It doesn’t matter who is the traitor or king, our lives are ruined!” “All of you should shush if you don’t want to lose your heads!”
The Hermonion high official squeezed Noam’s arm like a sponge and asked him discreetly. “What he mean by that he says?” He understood the language of Orr, but he did not fully grasp the meaning of all the words King Gorion spoke.
Noam whispered under his breath in pain. “It’s nothing important. He’s simply making the same speech he makes every year. We’ll proceed with our plan.” He sighed with relief when the Hermonion high official loosened his grip.
King Gorion raised his right hand once again and waited for the people to quiet down. “I am honoured to announce that our kingdom, the kingdom of Orr, shall have a new king from this day forth. It has been decided by the Royal Counsellors that my younger brother Noam shall inherit the throne today. You shall regard him as the rightful king of Orr and pay him homage as you would to all the honoured kings of Orr in the past. I’m deeply saddened to leave you and my beloved kingdom, but I must take leave for a while until the day appointed by God…”
“Ahem!” Noam cleared his throat loudly. He muttered under his breath to the king, “your majesty, you have already spoken too many senseless words. Let’s get to the important part now, shall we?”
King Gorion suppressed his emotions and announced to the people. “Now, let us welcome our new king to the throne!”
Six servants brought a golden litter in the shape of a throne chair on their shoulders and set it between Noam and King Gorion. It was a replica of the Golden Throne in the throne room of the Marvelous Castle. Two other servants placed a woolen carpet interwoven with purple and golden threads in front of the golden throne chair. Noam bowed to King Gorion and led him to the golden throne.
“I, King Gorion, the twenty-second king of the kingdom of Orr, shall now pass on the crown to my younger brother, Noam.” King Gorion announced to the people once seated on the throne. “However, due to the interest of time, this ceremony shall be condensed and will only include the essential elements of the traditional ceremony. Let us begin by singing ‘God bless the king’ with the Royal Chorus.”
Music rose from below the balcony and mingled with the crowd’s solemn chant. All the people of Orr sang with one voice. The Hermonion soldiers watched with great respect.
When the people finished singing the song, music continued to play. Noam knelt in front of the king and bowed his head to the ground. King Gorion rose from the golden throne and anointed his brother’s head with oil. He carefully placed his golden Royal Crown on Noam’s balding head. A servant came and held out a golden sceptre atop a gold-embroidered purple velvet pillow. King Gorion held the golden sceptre with his right hand and waved it above Noam’s head three times. “May God bless the king with favour. May God’s face shine upon his chosen servant. May the king rule in righteousness and justice. May God grant him prosperity and add years to his life. May the king live forever in the presence of God.”
King Gorion led Noam by the right hand to be seated on the golden throne. He placed the golden sceptre in his right hand and bowed down on his knees. He declared in a loud voice so that all the people could hear him, “long live the King!” The queen and Ayden bowed down on their knees towards the new King and said, “long live the King!” All the servants on the balcony did the same and declared, “long live the King!”
“Long live the king! Long live the king! Long live the king!” The people of Orr bowed down on their knees in the place they stood and worshiped the king. The Hermonions did not bow the knee to any king other than their own, so the high official paid respect by bowing his head from the waist up. The Hermonion soldiers followed their high official and declared with their overpowering voice, “long live the King! Long live the King! Long live the King!”
Noam’s face gleamed with joy when he saw the entire kingdom of Orr bowed in front of him. There were more than a million people gathered outside of the Marvelous Castle that day, not counting the Hermonion soldiers. He relished the moment of glory on his long-awaited throne before standing up to make his speech. A servant amplified his message to the crowd because his dry and raspy voice did not project well.
“My beloved citizens of Orr! I stand here today with great honour and responsibility, but also with a heavy heart and deep regret.” Noam looked at all the eager faces. “First of all, I would like to pledge to you my allegiance and service for the rest of my life. I will do my utmost to be the best King that the kingdom of Orr has ever known!” He paused for the crowd to applaud and cheer.
“Second of all, I wish to announce and make known to you this day the great tragedies of our Royal Family. Your former beloved King Gorion has committed multiple crimes, which are beyond pardon according to the Laws of our kingdom. I will not publicise the details of his offences because they are too shameful to be mentioned in public. All I will say is that it is a personal tragedy to lose such a wise brother to the temptations of sin. After extended discussions with my Royal Counsellors, we have reached the conclusion that it’s best to send him into exile, and have him delivered into the hands of the Hermonion King.”
Noam glanced pitifully at his older brother, who stood quietly next to him. “Gorion is never to set foot in the kingdom of Orr again. Disobedience of this Royal Decree will be punished with capital punishment according to the Laws of the kingdom of Orr.” He gazed down at the people with sorrow. “However, Gorion’s household is innocent from all the crimes he has committed. It would not be fair to impose the same punishment upon them according to our Law, especially our beloved Queen Nymphna and Prince Ayden. After much deliberation, I have agreed to fulfill my duty as a younger brother to the former King, and to inherit all his possessions, including his wife and child.” He was suddenly overtaken by uncontrollable coughing and his face turned bright red. His servants immediately attended to him while the people watched with anticipation and exasperation.
After a very long pause, Noam continued in the most solemn tone, “Queen Nymphna and Prince Ayden are to be regarded as they had always been, but in even higher honour. Queen Nymphna shall henceforth be called the Fair Queen of Orr, and never by her forename. Prince Ayden shall henceforth be called the crown Prince of Orr, the Prince of Fire, and never by his forename.” Noam paused for a few seconds to emphasize the next point. “The name of King Gorion shall never be uttered in the kingdom of Orr from this day forth, for it shall be regarded as high treason and punished as such. Guards! Take away the criminal from my presence.”
“Father, where are you going?!” Ayden cried.
The queen held Ayden tightly in her arms and said to him softly, “My darling, father must leave for a time. He will…”
“No, I want father! I want father!” Ayden struggled to break free from the queen while the guards tied up King Gorion and took him inside the castle. He suddenly turned around to face the queen, “mother, where is big brother? I want to play with him!”
Noam glided over to Ayden and answered with a coaxing smile, “have you not been told what happened to your big brother Ayron? It is a very sad story indeed.”
“I want my big brother! I want to play with him!” Ayden screamed in Noam’s face.
“I’m afraid he’s no longer with us, my little one.” Noam caressed Ayden’s soft pink cheeks. “But there’s no need to be sad, because your new daddy is here to protect you and mommy.” He pointed to himself with his gnarly fingers.
“Daddy’s not here! Daddy left! I want daddy! I want big brother!” He punched Noam in the face with his chubby fists.
“Take him away at once, my Fair Queen.” Noam rubbed his face in shock. “A child in tantrum is not fitting for the crowning celebration of a new king. He may return when he learns to behave better.” He caressed the queen’s hair and kissed her awkwardly on the cheek.
“Come darling, let’s go to my chamber!” The queen cursed Noam in her heart, but she did not retaliate. She picked up Ayden without a word and disappeared from the balcony.
Noam faced the people again and continued his speech. “Every family has its woes, and mine is no exception. Today is truly a grievous day for the Royal Family, with sorrow upon sorrow. The third announcement is that our beloved crown Prince, Prince Ayron, is no longer with us. His innocent and naïve heart was deceived by his very own father, who incited him to jump off the Rock of Prayer this morning. Oh, may that poor child’s soul rest in peace!”
The people moaned with indignation and some even shouted, “long live Prince Ayron!”
“We shall mourn the death of our Royal Prince for seven days as commanded by our Law. However, the mourning shall commence tomorrow, because today is a day of celebration of your new king and kingdom!” The sorrowful expression on Noam’s face instantly became joyful. “From this day forward, the kingdom of Orr shall be a member of the Hermonion Empire, the most powerful Empire in the whole world!”
“As lawful citizens of the Hermonion Empire, you now have the right to live and carry out business within all the kingdoms of the Hermonion Empire. In exchange, citizens from all other kingdoms of the Hermonion Empire shall have equal rights to live and trade in our kingdom. Now, let us welcome the future of our kingdom together as a member of the Hermonion Empire! The kingdom of Orr will become even more prosperous than it has ever been!” Noam raised his arms proudly and the people cheered in unison.
“My beloved citizens of Orr, do you see the Hermonion soldiers in your midst? Let us welcome them with open arms, for they have come to dwell with us in peace! They will be part of the justice system of the Kingdom of Orr from now on and protect us from all possible threats from the rest of the world!” Noam pointed his palm at the Hermonion high official next to him. “Allow me to introduce the High Official of Hermon, Bimbibom, who has been appointed as the Governor General over all the regions of Orr.”
Bimbibom stepped forward and waved to the crowd awkwardly. Few people noticed the nervous smile on his face because they marvelled at his size. Noam patted him on the back and continued, “I, the king of Orr, command you all, the citizens of Orr, to treat the Hermonions with respect and generosity, as you would like to be treated in a foreign land. From this day forth, the people of Orr and the people of Hermon shall be one people! Let us welcome the Hermonions!”
“Welcome! Hermonions! Welcome! Hermonions! Welcome! Hermonions! Welcome! Hermonions!” The people chanted in unison as they looked upon the Hermonion high official with awe. Most of them were so excited about their new king and becoming a citizen of the Hermonion Empire that they soon forgot about King Gorion. They partied with the Hermonions until sunset that day and went home merry with meat and wine.