Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: The 10th Kingdom
Challenge/Prompt: gameofcards: Out of the Blue: Black Sheep (If you join, tell them Kat Lee of Team Clubs sent YOU!)
Warning(s): Cannon Character Death, Spoilers
Word Count: 633
Date Written: 1 May 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
He was the black sheep of his family. Not even his father, as good a King as he was, had ever truly understood his desire to better the Troll Kingdom. Relish had had such grand ideas for his people. They were no longer to be condemned to such a small territory. They had cast their lot in, under his command, with the greatest power in the land. They were certain to win with the Evil Queen on their side.
His children were to be a grand part of it all. Surely, even with as bumbling as they are, bringing new lows to the intelligence of Trolls -- and Relish knows that's saying something for even his own parents were bumblers -- they would still be able to defeat a simple, human girl. They'd bring him her carcass and bring the boots back as well, but somehow, they'd managed to let the girl defeat them.
He looks around at his people keeling over. He's always been surrounded by stupidity, but this is a fresh terror. He looks again at the mirror and the cruel woman laughing at him and realizes, belatedly, that when he'd been a child, he had been on the right path but no longer. He should have stayed to those childlike beliefs, that Trolls could be something more and do something more than the lot they've always had, but he should never have sided with Evil. He remembers knowing, as a kid, that it was always the heroes who won.
He should have cast their lot in with the Wolf instead of the Queen. If Wolves can be good, surely so too can Trolls. Together, they could have paved a new pathway for both their species, but now . . . Now, he fears as his legs drop out from beneath him, now it's too late.
Now his children will die, the bumblers they always were, without his presence in their lives to protect him. Now it won't matter that his people fight amongst themselves over meager bones, because there aren't very many of his people left standing. Very soon, too soon, there will be none. And it's all his fault.
He was the black sheep of his family, but he should have stayed to the path he was born. It wasn't the path his father wanted for him. It wasn't the path of a Troll King the way their people have ever lived. But if he'd taken that path, if he'd stayed with the wisdom he'd seen clearly as a child who hadn't wanted to fight to have anything at all of his own, maybe then, he'd still be standing. Maybe then his people would still be standing.
Maybe his children would know, before he breathes his last, that he loved them. But somewhere along the way, it had all gone wrong. He remembers a Fairy he saw once as a child. He could have caught her and kept her, ransomed her, forced her to use her magic for him, or dined on her wings, a rare delicacy in his kingdom, but instead, he had let her go. He had let her go, and he had let himself be beaten.
He had succumbed to his father's ways. He had succumbed to the ways of every Troll King before him. He had failed his people, failed his parents and children, failed himself most of all. The Fairy he'd released as a child had given him one piece of sage advice. Always be yourself, she had said, but he hadn't listened. He hadn't listened, and now he had paid the price dearly. The apple rolls from his hand, and his eyes roll back in his head, words of love and wisdom he'd never spoken dying before ever given life on his tongue.