The days and weeks and months after Arlin had returned to the castle were difficult for the young prince. The violent passing of the queen had paid its toll upon him. Horrified, he assisted the priests of Dian Cécht in her resurrection. It was a grisly and expensive process, but one a kingdom willingly took on when a queen was taken before her time.
Tensions with Ildonia lessened, cooled back down to a simmering bloodless grudge. Popular belief was that the aggressions against Catheldor were done by a few who weren’t sanctioned by the Ildonia crown. Some disagreed and said the growing alliance between Catheldor and the Mallvrann elves blunted further aggressions. Powerful elf allies had bolstered the Catheldor army to a strength which could campaign across Ildonia lands if the king so wished.
Arlin had seen how powerful magic could be. Magic was more than flashy explosions, it could be used to control others or to invoke fear. After the resurrection ceremony the young prince cut away from his clerical studies to study the arcane arts under Wizard Mandel. He wanted his arcane studies to at least equal his divine.
One day an older priest of Dian Cécht, who Arlin knew as Brother Egglebert, had brought the young prince to his cloister for a private conversation. Arlin feared the cleric was to reprimand him for not being as studious in his studies as a prince should be. The dim light in the private chambers gave an air of mystery to the meeting.
“You have been through much and I feel it is time for you to see that Tthings are not as they seem,” the old cleric said with a kind voice as smooth as buttered cream. “There is much more to life than it appears.”
“Of course there is,” Arlin crossed his arms in defiance. “One day the kingdom is having a grand party of alliances and the next the queen had been immolated in flames.”
Brother Egglebert chuckled and beckoned the prince to sit beside him. “No, no, no. Several years ago on a calm and star filled night the king laid down with the queen. However, the king was not the king. The king looked like the king. The king sounded like the king. The king smelled like the king. The king felt like the king. The king tasted like the king. But the king was not the king.”
“Who would dare appear to be the king beside the queen if they were not?”
The priest patted the young prince on the arm. “Nine months after the king had lain with the queen a beautiful bouncing boy was born. Do you know who that boy was?”
Arlin wasn’t pleased with the old cleric’s story. “It doesn’t take a wizard to know that if you’re telling me this story then the boy was me. I find it to be a gross accusation for you to say that I am not a son of the king and that I’m not in line to the throne.”