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The story of A Girl and Her King, joins the young protagonist as she grows in her commitment towards her good king. She is young and he is old. He teaches, her watches over her, protects her. He has taken her to the battlefield, the arena, and now asks her to find her place inside the calm environment of her old home, where challenges abound to test her dedication to him in even in the smallest matters. She does not yet know what form their love will take, if he will one day bring her to live with him in the palace, or request she stay in that quiet home forever. But willing to wait, she receives the lessons he has in store for her.

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“Ah, are we going away again?” Philothea asked the king anxiously. He stepped down from his throne.

“Yes, little one, we are going away.”

What would they do this time? They were going to a place without snow. There would be something else there. She had been there twice and could remember the place a little, mingled with many other memories of many other places. What would they do once there? What did this king have planned?

In the past week two individuals asked her about her engagement. They both said bluntly, “I heard you wanted to marry the king.”

How to respond? To neither could she tell the real detail that he had told her, proposed to her, and then asked her to wait. They knew no details. There was not the time to explain. The second time she rushed to the other room and saw him snickering. “you think you’re funny, but you’re not,” Philothea said as she rushed into his open arms. He held her there, snickering because he was responsible for the second person. She was not mad. He humored himself by getting a reaction from her. Very rarely did people remind her or ask her. She was most open when she could volunteer the information.

Philothea looked up at him and smiled. Yes, they were going away again. If they could, she would like to stop at her home and get a pair of shoes and kiss her father goodbye, but she did not know if she would be able to.

They king must have been excited, too. “Be a little foolish,” he told her, “be very foolish.” He made time pass effortlessly. The king knew what things Philothea longed for. He smiled as he anticipated ways to give them to her.

 …

The battle was heated.

It was not exactly a vacation and her fingers froze. At night a soldier comforted her. Philothea had no idea it would be this.

In the morning she learned that in the battle one must rid oneself of anything that will work against him. “You must keep all your strength; and do not lose your peace.”

Philothea did seem foolish. This was a weekend to learn what the king wanted to teach her. The battle was present, very present. She could see others fighting. Sometimes it seemed as though everyone was fighting a different battle.

“No, they are all the same fight. But when weapons are different, each combat is different, it seems like you fight alone.”

Philothea held onto the king’s arm, “but you’re here.”

He smiled and held her. “Yes, I am. You’re my little princess. Do not forget your ring.”

The lessons continued, “to fight one must know there is someone greater than you, but know that I am protecting you and they will never beat me.”

“You’re always victorious.”

“Always.” It was a matter of strength and trust. She got her sword ready. He placed a diamond on her forehead and said, “because you are mine.”

She repeated the words back to him, “you are mine.”

They fought for three days. The first attack came that first night. All night long the enemy swarmed around them. The king allowed Philothea to sleep some, but with the enemy’s shouts so close, it was difficult. She awoke very early, and found that the entire night she had been alone with only the king and the enemy’s troops around. At morning, Philothea took her leave from the battle and went with the king to sit and talk. He explained humility again to her and his words rested in her. Even in their brief conversation, Philothea could sense that the enemy was still near. They fought hard all day long, some moments she did not even notice what they were doing, other moments it was all too present. As night drew on, she found herself looking at the king in the moonlight. She could see him. Philothea broke from his gaze to defend another soldier. Seeing the battle, the king rushed in to protect the soldier. He used his shield to defend her and Philothea returned to her own battle.

They called to one another in the darkness. The king was so close to her, so near to her that she could feel him inside her. It was then that she fell. Not under the sword of the enemy, and not quite from exhaustion. Philothea fell and the king carried her. He held her inside him as he continued to fight. She recognized the marks on the seal where the enemy’s sword had attempted to strike. The enemy failed.

The king prevailed and she understood the protection he gave her with his own heart. “Set me as a seal on your heart,” he had once written to her. Now he was there. In recognizing this, she could see that no matter how close the enemy seemed to approach, that it could never penetrate her. She would be forever protected. Philothea never had to fear. She would always be free.

 

Only after this, could Philothea take the ring off of her finger. She wrote a brief letter to the princess, but had very few words. Philothea placed the ring in a golden box and with the short note and an explanation of her heart; she placed everything inside the envelope, sealed it, and sent it into the desert. There were no longer adornments on her fingers, but she had a diamond on her forehead and the king’s seal on her heart. Perhaps one day there would be more. But this was all for now. She looked up at the king and looked into his eyes as she closed the envelope. He knew it would be okay. It was little and small, even though it was sad. And he loved her.