The Heir

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There once lived a king and queen with two young children – their prince and princess. The king worked very hard to build an empire for his family and to set the foundations in place for his heir to take reign when he was no longer capable of remaining in control.

The king was tough on his prince; he wanted his son to be a man. But his son was just a boy, experiencing his young life and discovering the world around him. As a result of his hard work the king would often be left in a foul mood. A mood he would often inflict upon his prince. Sometimes the king would inflict this mood upon his queen when the prince was not around or if his son had been good at school. The princess, however, always escaped her father’s wrath. She was the apple of his eye. And though the prince loved his sister dearly, he deemed the contrast in treatment from his father unfair.

And so the prince would seek acceptance and companionship from his schoolmates, particularly so because he was different to them. Over time the boy established strong alliances with his friends. He became popular within the school. But he’d lost some focus. His results were slipping. He was not maximising his potential. When the king learned of this he was furious.

With each passing day his temper grew fiercer. His personality became more aggressive. His voice would shake the palace walls. Everyone lived in fear of him, most especially the young prince. The two found themselves entwined in a circle of conflicting interests: the king wishing the most for his son, but expressing himself through enraged, and somewhat panicked, tyranny; the meek prince wishing to be accepted by both groups of people who were in his daily life, but only succeeding with one.

One day, the king returned to his palace in the worst temper anyone had ever seen him in. He screamed at the top of his lungs at everybody while smashing objects on the ground in fits of rage. And then he came across his son – docile and silent, trying to shirk away from his father’s tornado of fury. The king, at the sheer sight of his prince, exploded uncontrollably. Eyes bulging, spittle flying, veins pulsating at his reddened temples, the king yelled loudly and directly into the young prince’s face.

Never before had the prince seen his father in this state. There was nobody, not even the queen, who could control the king. Screaming abuse after abuse the king’s temper worsened with every remark until his final comment, which was followed by an uncomforting stone-cold silence, was the final nail into the body of his son’s verbal crucifixion: ‘You were a mistake!’

Years went by and the prince grew into a man. His relationship with the king grew amicable the older he got, but memories of his childhood still resurfaced from time-to-time. This particular episode would also sometimes rear its monstrous head – a memory shrouded with the serpent’s tail sting of the harsh words, the watching eyes and the deafening silence. With the acceptance of this incident as a mere heat-of-the-moment statement the prince had grown into a man, yet the impact of these words still carried a heavy weight of despondence that pained him deeply.

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