The Prince and the Empress
King Leopold Edward Nenufar of the Slopheovaia kingdom is old and in poor health. The time has come for Prince Christian Edward Nenufar to marry. He is the only heir to the throne. Prince Christian desired to have a union like the one his parents’ had. Their marriage was forged out of love, not out of a call to duty. While growing up in the palace, he witnessed his parent’s admiration for each other. When his mother, Queen Camila Nenufar died while giving birth to a second child, a girl, who also perished, his father almost ceased to live. After many years, the Kings royal council pleaded with him to take another wife; He refused, the King said, “I had his one true love.” This is the story of how Prince Christian Nenufar found his one true love.
Prince Christian was overseeing the preparations for the voyage he chose four of the finest ships from the royal fleet. One of the ships would carry gifts to present to the bride’s father and mother. Due to his poor health, King Leopold could not travel with the prince. Instead, he choose six of the wisest men from the royal council to accompany Prince Christian to help with the marriage contract. During the activity, Prince Christian remembered Lanceworth telling him that he had information about this mystery woman. He left the shipyard to find Lanceworth to inquire about what he knows. Prince Christian, Lanceworth in his bedchamber packing for the voyage.
“Lanceworth my good man” he called out to him.
“Yes my lord,” answered Lanceworth.
“I see you have been busy,” said the prince looking around the room at the packed trunks.
“Yes my lord there is much to be done. We set sail tomorrow “Lancewoth said moving around the room.
“Sit for a while and talk to me. Share all that you know about the maiden I seek.” asked the prince
Lanceworth “her name is Drusilla she is a lady at the house of Laurelton.
Interrupting him, the prince said aloud, “Laurelton, Laurelton, where have I heard that name?”
Lanceworth replied, “It is one of the lesser known kingdoms west of Penfirden.”
“That’s about a month’s journey we can make good time if the sea is fair to us.” Prince Christian declared.
Lanceworth replied with these words to encourage the prince, “My lord you need not fear Fate is on your side. The king has sealed this union with his blessings. You must believe that all will be well. You will find her.”
Prince Christian. Smiled at him and said, “You have always been a trusted friend and brother, and I will put my worries aside.”
“You must take your rest because you will need your strength for this journey.” Said Lanceworth, “I will be back first light to gather the rest of your belongings.” When Lanceworth left the room, Prince Christian wondered if he could sleep; he feared that if they did not find her he would be doomed to select another bride.
It was noon the next day when King Leopold walked with Prince Christian to the ship. The sun shined brightly and the wind blew at a steady pace.
The prince spoke in a somber voice, “Father I wished that you were able to make this journey with me.”
“My son, it’s a heavy burden seeing you take this journey, but you are wise you will make it to your destination. When you do stay but a week, to rest your crew and replenish your ships, remember to leave the negations of the marriage contract to the men who sit on my council, soon they will be serving you. Lastly, if your mother were here she would advise you not to allow your emotions to take hold of you. Remember you are of royal blood.” With these last words, the king embraced him, and watched the prince disappear below deck.
As the ships drifted deeper into the sea, the king looked up at the sky and whispered, “Bring him back to me.”
Prince Christian stood on the deck of the ship looking out over the horizon. It has been six days since he left home they traveled a great distance. The weather and sea had been kind. If they continued at the current pace, they will arrive at Laurelton in twenty days. In the meantime, the prince made himself busy. He met with the council and they prepared him for the marriage negotiation.
On the twelfth night of the journey, the sea remained calm. As a reward for the crews’ hard work Prince Christian announced that, the men could enjoy an evening of music and a few rounds of ale. During the night the helmsman, fell asleep at the steer causing the ship to drift of course and away from the other vessels. By sunrise, panic sieged the ship. Prince Christian was awaken and told of the mishap. The ship’s captain ordered the crew on deck. It had to be decided what punishment the helmsman should face.
Prince Christian was the last to arrive on deck this would be his first decision made on his own. He had no desire to punish the Helmsman’s mistake. After all, it was because of his order they indulged themselves in ale. Prince Christian was more concerned about getting back on course then disciplining the helmsman. In the meantime, the captain went below deck to study the maps to get them back on course.
After being asked to step forward by the Prince, the helmsman immediately began to beg the Prince’s pardon, by saying “this is all my fault whatever my end I will except it”
As the Prince stood still and speechless, all eyes were fixed on him. He knew that he had to make the right choice or these men would not respect him when he becomes king. The Prince decided to include the entire crew in this mishap and this is what he said.
“I don’t think that one man must shoulder the blame I hold my entire crew at fault. We are a team are we not? If one man falls then we all share in this failure. The task now is to push forward; there will be no further talk about this. We need to keep our wits and work together to get back on course.
The Prince did not notice when Captain Bartholomew arrived back on deck, He addressed Prince Christian, “Permission to speak” Asked the captain.
“Permission granted, “Replied the prince.
“There is a way to get back on course and shorten the travel time to Laurelton but it will take us through enemy territory.”
Prince Christian asked the Captain “And what about the other ships do you think that they will turn about looking for us? “
Captain Bartholomew responded, “I am sorry my prince I did not think of this,”
The Prince continued, “I am not a navigator of the sea, however, if we turn around and go back towards Laurelton, we could run into the other ships, if not pray that they will continue on and find us there.”
Captain Bartholomew bowed to Prince Christian and said, “As you command my prince.” He turned to the crew and gave the order to turn the shop around. The men scattered to their stations. The captain asked Prince Christian, “What is to become of the helmsman?”
Prince Christian replied, “Let him be, I have a feeling that after today he will never fall asleep at the steer again.” And with that, Prince Christian returned to his cabin. He wanted to be alone. As soon as he entered the room, there was a knock at the door.
“Who’s there?” asked the prince in an irritated tone.
“Lanceworth my lord, you haven’t had your tea.”
“Enter” the prince called out.
Lanceworth entered the room with a tray he busied himself setting up tea for the prince.
Prince Christian let out a sigh “This situation is my fault. I thought I was doing right by these men. I ordered them to enjoy a night of fun because they are far from home and their families.”
Lanceworth answered, “You’re wrong, the helmsmen is to blame he should have exercised better judgement.”
“Was I wrong not to make an example of him in front of the others?” asked the prince.
“No, what good would punishing him do, these men need to see that their future king can show mercy, they don’t need a king they fear, in this way they will be loyal to you.”
“lanceworth, you are wise beyond your station maybe when I become King I will give you a position on my counsel.”
“Much thanks my lord, “replied Lanceworth, but “I must prefer the position I have now.”
“Good “uttered the prince “I like having you serving close to me. I feel a kinship between us that I don’t feel with the others.”
“Thank you my lord I am honored.”
“You need not be so serious or formal when we are alone. What is there to eat?”
After Prince Christian had his meal, he dismissed Lanceworth, and told him to inform the captain that he is not to be disturbed unless it is of uttermost importance. He wanted to rest and join him after a few hours.
“As you wish” Lanceworth said, as he closed the door.
Prince Christian lay across the bed, feeling weary. He drafted off to sleep…
He allowed himself to get into a deep sleep that was sweet and colorful. He entered a garden where the scent of the flowers was strong and intoxicating. When the prince looked down at his feet, he discovered that he was floating on a rainbow colored path that lead him into a mystical forest where there are hundreds of butterflies that looked like fairies. He came upon a bluish green waterfall that reminded him of Drusilla’s eyes. At the end of the waterfall was a pond. He kneeled to touch the water; it felt cold on his hands. While he was looking across the pond, he heard someone singing. It was a women’s voice and she was calling his name. He listened to hear the direction the voice was coming from.
He noticed that the butterflies started to fly in the direction of the voice as; he followed them deeper into the forest. The singing became louder. He kept going until he came to what seemed to be the end of the forest. There was a bright blinding light, the voice continued calling to him. As he walked into the light, he felt a hand, touching his shoulder. The voice kept calling, “Wake up, wake up.”
Prince Christian opens his eyes, and sees Drusilla. For a moment, he does not know where he is. Looking around the room, nothing is familiar to him except his Mahoney writing table. The walls are a deep purple with Gold flowers. The bed is draped in a canopy with the royal signea for the king.
He remembers seeing Drusilla in the palace garden. Their eyes met and there was no need for words. Something stirred within their souls at that moment. Prince Christian know he had found his one true love.
The Show Must Go on
On April 14, 2007, I took my final bow after a ten-year career as a theater manager. As I walked out of the building, which became my second home rather than my place of employment, I dared not look back in fear of busting into tears and running screaming back into the building. I had become attached to my co-workers and some of the clients. As melancholy as I felt at that moment, I know that it was time to move on. As I sat in the back of a black luxurious town car one of my rewards from my employer for years of “good service”, I looked out on the black blue sky and remembered something that my late father had said to me. He said, “No matter what you choose to do in life, make sure that you go out with your boots on.”
Theater life was not always easy or fair, something I now recognize; when I started out as an usher, I was much younger and dumbfounded. The people, the performance, and the energy delighted me. When you’re young and have stars in your eyes its hard to comprehend that the life presented on stage isn’t real, but just acting; it’s when the lights go out that real life begins; some times I struggled to separate the two. It was thrilling to brag to friends and family about the legendary people I encountered each day; I was beyond star struck.
I craved going to work each day; for the first two years, I worked hard never arriving late and only calling in sick once; and for that, I was promoted to House Manger. In my ignorant thinking I somehow thought that this position made me an important person. It took me many years to discover how burdensome my life as a Theater House Manager would become and that it is behind the curtain before the audience arrived that the real drama played out.
I was employed at what some people described as a road house (rental theater); the staff was made up of office administrative workers, box office personal, the crew (the stage hands), concessions, and finally the ushers and managers ( the house staff). Our mission statement was that our door of two main stage theater’s capacity 918 & 262 was open to all artist and cultural expressions. The very survival of our theater was dependent upon rental clients. I dare not go into the many tales of each experience most, of them were good, and the bad let’s just say that on those days, I wished I had stayed in bed.
The day that I was promoted they shook my hand, patted me on my back and smiled. I had no idea the ride that I was in for; no one told me that the manager was the first to arrive and the last to leave; nor was I warned about the game, blame the manager.
The manager was to bare the burden for whatever went wrong regardless of whether it was his or her fault; it was explained to me by my artist director in this way, “You’re the manager and that’s just the way things go.” There is no real job description to define what a theater manager duties are because there are so many; tasks are added on the longer you stay in the position. Everyone depends on you for answers and conflict resolution.
Let’s look at the business side there are rules with running a rental theater; rules of safety, limitations, and restricting the clients of time and space. These guidelines are present and acknowledged by the client during the signing of the contract, however, on the day of the event all bets are off, and it is the manager’s job to be diplomatic when trying to enforce rules; while keeping the client from having a nervous breakdown because they feel that I’m ruining their show.
When the day go well this will consist of the staff arriving on time, the client is a smooth operator and agrees to make minor adjustments to stay within the contract guidelines. The house opens on time, the audience is pleasant, and at the end of the evening, the client is loaded out the door singing our praises of a job well done. The other side to a good day is when the day goes bad. This is when I have to switch gears going into full throttle, smile a lot, and remind the staff of the customer service motto. What is a manager to do when the crew, the box office, concession staff, and the client all come calling with problems that need to be solved now; of course no one wants to take a number and stand in line. It is at the end of such a day that I found myself at my favorite pub contemplating how I am going to do this again tomorrow.
This job affected the normal activity of my life. The grind of the long hour, the early morning, the late nights, office hours, and the constant problem solving drove me nuts. During my tenure as house manager, I was a full-time undergrad student, while working part-time as a college mentor and tutor. My social life went to the dogs. I missed every major family gathering I am ashamed to even say some funerals. Trying to have a relationship was out of the question; a man can only hear, no I have to go to work, no I have class, no I have to study, and no I have to sleep, but so many times before he cracked. The last ten years my best friends became my job, school, the library, the computer, and my bed.
Looking back, do I feel cheated? Yes and no. What that job provided me with was a descent salary, a benefit package, great co-workers, flexibility in my work schedule so that I could complete my degree. If I knew then what I know now would I have taken the job, yes. In that ten years I gained a great deal of knowledge on how to run a business, supervise a staff, multi task, how to balance time, and most of all how to give the best that I had to offer of myself in order to get the best outcome for all who were involved. I had my chance to run with the big boys and I survived; now I feel good about riding off in the sunset with my boots on.
What Say You?