Part 1: HERE
King Stefan’s rule was both prosperous and fair, as such, there were many condolences to accept, visiting dignitaries to greet, and bequeaths to distribute. King Franz did this all with as much decorum and grace as he could muster in his grief. Through it all, his second father, John, stood by his side.
“My King, it is time for you to inspect your castle and the treasury. It is now yours by right of inheritance.” John addressed the young man formally, as they were in the presence of the court.
The new king sighed, for it was a task he had been procrastinating for many weeks. How could he care for storerooms and gold when it came to him at the cost of his father’s life? Still, he was King, and his treasury was tied to the wealth of his Kingdom and his people. He was determined to be a good king, like his father before him.
John gave the melancholy king a tour of the stables, smitheries, armory, and surrounding working lands. He saved the castle and its treasury’s inventory for last.
John presented the ledger, an inventory list, and had the treasurer present the most precious of artifacts. After all was inspected to satisfaction, and the treasurer was thanked and dismissed, John and King Franz lingered a moment longer to gaze upon the Late King Stefan’s personal jewels, now a part of the royal collection. After many fond memories were shared, John tenderly placed the box on its shelf, and in the process, knocked over a large portrait in a solid gold frame.
“What was that crash! John, are you alright?” Franz asked, rushing to check the older man for injuries.
When he lifted the heavy portrait from the ground, all other words froze in his throat. His heart fluttered, and his jaw went slack. The subject of the golden portrait was a woman of extreme beauty. The exact woman Franz had seen in his dreams, but deemed to perfect to truly exist. After a moment of stunned silence, Franz found his voice again.
“John, oh dear John. Do you know who this woman is?”
“She is the daughter of King Midas.” John answered, already seeing a dangerous love growing in the young man’s heart. “But he is a proud man, who loves his daughter possessively. He will not let her wed.”
“I must meet her. She must become my Queen.”
“My boy, her lands are far from here, and she is well protected. Midas will never let her leave her gilded cage.”
“John” Franz tore his eyes away from the portrait for only a moment. “For many nights now, I have dreamt of a beautiful woman, singing in a golden tower. She sings and weeps, and asks me to free her.” John turned back to the portrait, but his eyes looked past the paint, into the woman’s sorrowful gaze. “Don’t you see John, she is the angel from my dreams.”