[Alfred actually seems pretty calm over the video feed today - and it is Alfred today, as opposed to Alexia; it's overcast but it's warm enough, and he's currently settled under one of the trees in Ilex Forest. He's not looking at the camera, but rather his gaze is downcast, focused on the...thing he's got draped over his lap. No, it's not one of the Bloobers, but admittedly a three-eyed pink slug the size of a fairly large dog with a naturally-occurring Viking helmet isn't much better, because what in the good hell is having normal pets.
At least he's smiling, kinda. For once.]So
...[And from that one word alone, we are clearly in for a bit of a story. Why? Because why not, that's why. Just let him pet his giant sea slug and talk for a while, okay, don't crush his dreams.]
Once upon a time in a faraway country - as so many of these stories tend to begin - there was a King who was noted for his benevolence and charity to all his subjects. He was loved by all who knew him, which was fortunate for him, really, as he was also naive and, while well-meaning, easily taken advantage of.
A short time into his rule, he took a bride; the Queen he chose - for reasons that were surely only known by him - was one who was notoriously cold and had a reputation for being nasty in personality, and was just generally difficult to get along with. The respect she commanded was gained through fear, not love; it seemed no one loved her but the King, in fact.[He pauses for a moment, tipping his head a bit before going back to petting the slug.]
To his credit, he loved her completely.[That's better, apparently.]
Now, the King had a tendency to take walks through the garden every morning at a precise time, such that he could have an hour or so to himself every day before seeing to his duties as the ruler of the country. Which is well and good...until one morning, when he didn't return.
He was found a short while later, lying dead in that garden he loved so much, a single arrow piercing his heart.[...okay, judging by this pause here, either he's collecting himself or the damn thing literally ends there; let's have a moment and pray that he's seriously not - ]
...You know, I've never known it to have an ending outside of that; that's always how I've known the story to go.
I suppose that's why I've always liked it so much, really; the ending can be taken any number of ways, depending on how you feel that day.[Goddamn it, Alfred.]
It's one of those weird stories where I don't know where it came from, though...I mean, I suppose
my father had to have told me at some point, since I can't imagine the scientists telling me anything of the sort - but I've no idea where he
got it, if that's the case. My sister and I both know a version of the same story put to music; I just don't remember hearing it.[...]
Is that common
, do you think? Having something that you've known for so long that you don't remember where
it came from, and it's strange for you to try to imagine there being a time where you didn't