Dear Elyrians, and more importantly those of you from Dol Aderyn, I have reached the end of my search for King Miles. I have found myself in strange establishments, welcoming havens, and distant lands only to find the King of Dol Aderyn covered in mud in his very castle. All those days searching and wondering what the future of Dol Aderyn holds were quickly forgotten after such an intriguing encounter with the King. My ink is almost dry, and I may need a new quill after this riveting encounter.
I entered the foyer to the castle’s throne room seeking an audience with Duchess Aleerayn, hoping to ask if she had seen King “Miles” lately, when I noticed the door to the throne room ajar, and muddy footprints leading through the narrow opening. With no one around, I poked my head in to see if everything was in order, and to my surprise found a man half-covered in mud and wearing the King of Dol Aderyn’s crown upon his head. Having never met King “Miles” before, I assumed he had returned by some strange circumstance.
Bradford J Wilshire: “Greetings King Miles! I have been searching far and wide for you, good to finally catch up with you! How are you?”
The man looked in my direction and burst into laughter. He held up a finger to signal me to wait and grabbed a broom from the corner. Quickly, he ran the broom to the King’s throne, set it on the throne, and tossed his crown on top.
King Evelake “Miles” Rhyne: “If it’s ‘King Miles’ you are looking for, that is him!”
The stranger burst into laughter again, slapping his knee as he continued.
“Someone in my kingdom has pulled one over on you, my friend! Do not blame them; that is the kind of relationship I keep with my fair people!”
I stood there, bewildered, and wondered who this man was. Was he crazy? He came closer and in the time it took to extend his hand, he also presented a new demeanor, almost that befitting a soldier.
King Evelake “Miles” Rhyne: “The name is Evelake, King Evelake Rhyne.”
As I took his hand I could tell that he was not like other Kings I had met, his hands knew the feel of hard labor.
BJW: “Nice to meet you King Evelake. You might understand my confusion, is King Miles a nickname of sorts?”
King Evelake Rhyne: “The broom is ‘King Miles’. It is a running joke that I have in the Kingdom. I am often away from my puffy little throne up there, and out and about with my people, where I belong. When I am away, I set the broom [on] my throne and place my crown on the handle. The people took to calling it King Miles when they came to call upon my fair wife and her wise counsel at court.”
“What brings you here to my beautiful Kingdom, this den of Fiery Birds and Quick Witted Foxes? How may I be of service to you?”
BJW: “That is quite the clever masquerade you have set up! I suppose it serves you well in both humor as well as diverting questions as to your whereabouts when you are among the people. I can only imagine an assassin trying to take your ring, only to find a broomstick with a crown on top!”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at the absurdity of the thought.
“I am here to humbly meet you and see what your people can expect of you in the kingdom.”
At the mention of assassins, Evelake’s posture changed from that of a jovial, lighthearted King to one of a poised warrior. Momentarily, he relaxed and also chuckled at the thought of the broomstick being assassinated.
King Evelake Rhyne: “It is exactly that, that takes me from these beautiful halls almost daily. I am a man of the people. You see, in our Kingdom our lines are passed down via the matriarchs. The males of my family are often bred to lead and train our fighting forces, to be excellent diplomats, or to be civil servants.”
“My parents, however, had no daughter to pass their lineage to. I grew up fully expecting them to give me a sister and for her to take the throne. So I grew up as any other male Rhyne would, bred for leading our armies in defense of our lands and our people, in the name of progress for our great nation.”
“It wasn’t until I was nearly 20 years of age when I was told that in order for the Rhyne name to continue I would have to take a wife as my Queen, and rule beside her as King. It hadn’t dawned on me before that this was even a possibility. However, I do not believe I could have picked a better Queen for our home, our nation.”
“You see, I held no taste for the noble women of the court. They typically are too fussy to get their hands dirty.”
The King smirked thinking about fussy noblewomen, but his eyes became distant, and a little distracted, as he spoke about his Queen.
“But Aelirenn was something else entirely. She is a member of one of the greatest houses of rangers our Kingdom has ever seen. Get her hands dirty? Ppfftt! She would be out there shoveling pig manure with me and the farm lads if she could find her own broom to set in that chair! There is no better match for me and certainly not a better match for the Kingdom. My younger brother Haervy took the position I was poised for as Commandant of the Army, and I set about to keep this magnificent Kingdom as great as the people in it.”
“What can my people expect of me in this Kingdom? Someone who’s willing to roll up his sleeves, stand alongside them, and build our Kingdom into the brightest jewel the world has ever seen, and who’ll then turn around, grab my arms, and lead her armies from the front to defend that glorious jewel from now until this world turns to dust.”
Having answered about himself, the King shifted his attention. Nodding in my direction, he winked and questioned me!
“And what, Sir, can my people expect from you?”
BJW: “Ah, the question that many should ask, but few seem to think of until after I write.”
I chuckled with a cheeky grin, then with a sincere, intense gaze, gave him his answer.
“Your people have been kind and have encouraged me to continue writing. Even with the occasional jokes about the ‘journalist’ in the room, I expect to give our readers and your people a fair and objective representation of the facts and inform them of rumors, as clearly as possible, as they unfold.”
“Speaking of dirt, what exactly are you covered in? I hope that’s just mud…”
King Evelake Rhyne: “That is quite an undertaking, and I believe my people to be extremely appreciative of your articles and pamphlets. I have had my own chuckles at the candor you seem to share with my friend King Zultra.”
“Oh you mean this?”
The King, hardly noticing that he was covered in muck, looked down at his hands, trousers, and boots, then laughed.
“Well I did mention manure… No, it’s just mud, I was helping old Vorlok, one of our nation’s finest tinkerers, get his cart out from a rut in the side of the road. We have had a bit of a wet spring, as I am sure you noticed on your journey here.”
BJW:“Yes, Zultra. Seems like there is always a story brewing in Zygethia…”
“I did notice your wet spring, in fact, I might have to find some new boots before I leave. But before I depart, is there a legacy that you would hope to be remembered for?”
King Evelake Rhyne: “King Zultra. It is not for us to decide upon what another man makes of himself. He, forges his own path, like we all do. His people trust him and call him King, what else could he be if not King at that point? The only people who have any right to remove the title of King from his name are the same people who gave it to him. As for a legacy that I hope to be remembered for….”
King Evelake took his crown from “King Miles” placed it on his own head, then reached behind the throne to grab a dry, clean pair of work boots. He walked over, and offered them to me.
“…I think that this will suffice.”
BJW: “Thank you, Your Majesty! I would be most honored to walk a mile or a few hundred in your ‘boots,’ even if it doesn’t quite carry the same status that your broom might hold.”
King Evelake Rhyne: “Perhaps you can bring them back one day and I can replace my broom with these boots that have traveled so many ‘Miles’.”
We both walked out of the throne room laughing at our own jokes. As I left the castle courtyard, I reflected on this strange series of events. The King “Miles” was, in fact, just a ruse – an inside joke for those seeking to speak with the King, while the man himself could more often actually be found outside the royal courts helping those in need. It was starting to make sense; King Evelake Rhyne was the one true King of Dol Aderyn and understood his people at a level foreign to many rulers.
It was nice to finally put a face to the mystery surrounding King “Miles”.
Until next time,
Be Bold, Be Brave.
Bradford J. Wilshire
*Edited by: Victoria M. Xildithas*