A Fool at the Wedding

Arbellan to the north,

Zanbralla to the south,

The Gods' green bridge between them.

 

A mirthless century

Preparing for the war

There'd surely be between them.

 

But old years passed and new years came

And peace, of a sort, remained.

 

Cooler heads from each land

Agreed to meet and plan

A future not so fearful.

 

The South's Prince, the North's Queen,

Whose hearts in secret schemed

A scheme both bold and beautiful.

 

The ending of their 'Almost-War'

Would see joined Queen and Prince and more.

 

In a new capital

The Royals would be wed,

A new age to begin.

Peace and trust would usurp

Hatred and suspicion,

A better age to win.

Both kingdoms would be joined as one

Once the wedding day was done.

Alas, how rarely

Ease enfolds unity

And hate lays down to die;

The foremost fool of all

Above his peers stood tall,

'Gainst his own Queen he'd vie.

'I am Count Starl,' He often said.

'And south men should be bled, not wed.

'The Queen's perversions

Are irredeemable!

She has betrayed her race!

 

'And swarthy, southern beasts

We must conquer! Let us

Now put them in their place!'

 

Yet from his countrymen he found,

But few whose spite was not worn down.

 

Such unsubtle hatred

Snared the Count as he sped

To bring death to the wedding.

 

He found the Queen's brother

Who had the fool fettered

And sent his snipes a-fleeing.

 

For the cause of bygone hate,

None truly wished to risk their pates.

And one who'd wished to know

Life free from war's shadow,

The Count's treason betrayed.

 

A message by pigeon

Had summoned the Queen's kin,

Who set the Count in chains.

 

His gathered fools had fled home,

He went to the wedding alone.

 

And whilst two kingdoms cheered

A scene of love and joy

And better days to come,

 

The Count watched the wedding

Stripped nude within a cage,

By shame thoroughly stunned,

 

A royal wedding's proper fool,

Pelted by scraps and ridicule.

 

Afterwards he was loosed,

Banished yet spared the noose,

Attainted and cast out.

A kind fate for treason,

In an age of reason,

Disregarding such louts.

 

Off he shambled, shamed and bare,

Few knew whence and fewer cared.