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What if other times constantly invaded your own?
Namor had lived his life in service to the kingdom. Immer demanded the priest’s attention every waking moment. It consumed his sleep. It was all he knew.
The burden hadn’t felt so great when he had first taken up the mantle in his youth. But seeing to the needs of a kingdom that existed simultaneously in all points of time had taken its toll. He was tired.
He longed for a simpler life, though Esan didn’t complain, regardless of the miniscule number of minutes per day Namor was able to spend with his husband. No, Esan never complained. He simply handled the minutiae of governance, leaving Namor to manage the constant state of flux. But more and more, Namor did complain, if only within the confines of his own mind.
The difficulty with managing the demands of Immer’s existence lay not specifically in its inhabiting everwhen, but in the resulting intersection with ever-changing moments of time. One never knew what to expect or what crisis the latest incursion might provoke. Or what new concept or construct might enter the ever-changing fabric of the mosaic that made up Immer’s physical and societal world.
Previous guardians to the kingdom had borne the mantle without aid. Power invested in one priest at a time. Namor had not thought to challenge this when he had ascended. But, more and more, he had become enamored of the intersections that had brought glimpses of democratic societies in which power was not only shared, but remained invested in individuals or governing bodies only for as long as they retained the favor of their people.
Namor didn’t think the last bit would work in Immer. Too much shifted too frequently, and it required steady hands to steer its ship. No. He had decided that he would, himself, choose a council in which to invest a portion of his powers, retaining enough that if they should fail the kingdom, he could replace them.
This solution pleased Namor. There would be time to choose a successor to take his place as overseer of the council. One member would shine, and Namor would pass his remaining power to that person. He would then truly be free.
And in the meantime, he would at least step back from his never-ending duties, allowing others to share the burden. Esan didn’t complain, but Namor saw the toll his absorption in his work took on his beloved. Both men, though they would have endured a lifetime, were more than relieved to have discovered this new concept of governing. They would be glad of the change.
With a smile of satisfaction, Namor kissed his still-sleeping husband’s cheek, leaving their chamber quietly so as not to disturb him. Today he would evaluate the first candidates for his new council. He would not rush the process, but he saw light at the end of the tunnel. It was only a matter of time.
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This story came about when I mashed two ideas together, one a word I learned from lexicographer Susie Dent, and the other a prompt from Justin Deming of Along the Hudson.
Susie’ word of the day a while back was everwhen, which is a 17th century word meaning always. (I chose the German word Immer, which means the same thing, for the name of the kingdom.) I really liked this word and added it to my prompts list to see if it sparked a story.
Justin provides lists of prompts to his readers, in addition to his Fifties by the Fire prompts. One of those lists included the one I mashed together with the concept of everwhen.
Write about someone carrying or hauling a heavy burden. The burden can be physical, emotional, or mental. Try to focus your story or “piece” on this specific element. Let it drive the action.
I think it’s pretty clear how I married the two ideas. What do you think about living somewhere that sees snippits of time invading your own? I think it would be very destabilizing for a society.
Would you, like Namor, make the decision to share power while eschewing democracy? Do you think his reasoning is sound?
For those who have hung in to the end, here are some more images I created around everwhen. Don’t forget to leave a comment!