I. The Impact of Her
By Author Nicole Marcina
Date: January 31, 2023
Ch. 1Prologue

A kingdom was covered by dark, heavy clouds that carried a millennium’s amount of rain. Along with the loudest thunders, the strongest bolts of lightning stretched across the dim sky.
All because of a king and his heir – his only son – lying in bed, currently in a deep sleep.
The time for them to regain consciousness? Nobody could say for sure.
All the members of the court could do was to bargain with the ancient gods to spare one of them.
The queen has been running the kingdom whilst worrying about the state of her family. She knew she was close to losing sanity, but she would remind herself to hold onto it a bit longer.
‘The kingdom cannot afford to lose another appointed ruler,’ she would often tell herself. Her husband and son were already at the brink of death. She couldn’t be swept away by this diplomatic crisis.
T’was in the middle of the day – springtime, to be exact – and it has rained continuously for weeks. People lost track of time because they’ve been submerged in wet weather for the longest time. And though water continued to fall from the heavens, they went with their usual activities without complaints; something that the queen praised her people of.
She now sat beside her almost lifeless husband, holding his hand at his side. Depressed yet alert, she hoped that he would awaken today. It has been her wish since he and their son were trapped in an endless cycle of sleep. And she held onto this almost unrealistic wish, not because of his duties but because she missed her husband too much already.
He was her rock, her guide, the person who complimented everything about her. His protection and love allowed her to reveal her strengths and weaknesses without shame.
‘Is it too much?’ she thought to herself. ‘Is it too much to ask that either you or our son would wake up today? To ease my worries for just a moment?’ she continued as her tears fell.
Her daughter watched helplessly from the side as her mother wept silently. The princess walked towards the queen, her hands folded in front of her. She reached out to her mother’s shoulders, giving them a light squeeze. An assurance that she wasn’t alone.
The queen held her daughter’s hand, not letting go of her husband’s. She didn’t remove her stare from her husband. She even tried not to blink.
After a moment of silence, the king coughed. His cough persisted as he continued to gain consciousness.
The queen’s eyes widened. “Your Majesty?” she called out to him. “Dearest,” she turned to her daughter in a panic, “Fetch for the Medicine King as quickly as possible.”
The princess nodded and rushed off.
“Your Majesty, are you awake?” the queen called out to him again. Her gentle grip tightened, praying that this wasn’t a dream, that he was truly alive.
The king slowly opened his eyes as he adjusted himself to his environment. The light in the room was faint but it was blinding to a man who was under the curse of unending sleep. As his sight became clearer, he was pleasantly surprised to see the face of his beloved. Slowly, he reached out to touch her face.
“Thank the heavens!” she closed her eyes as she whispered. His hand cupped her cheek and she buried her face in his touch. “Thank the heavens you’re awake,” she sniffled as tears of joy ran down her cheeks.
He smiled, relieved that it was all over. But their brief moment of happiness was replaced with horror when something came across the king’s mind: their son.
“Where’s our son?” he asked his wife, eyes widened. “Where is he?”
She froze as she received his question. She stood still, eyes wide open as she feared how he would react to their son’s state.
The king held onto her arms and repeated his question, not wanting to let go without an answer.
With a deep breath, the queen pointed to the bed beside the king’s… and there he was: the prince of the kingdom, still trapped in his own slumber.
Not waiting for another minute, he rushed towards his son. He stumbled along the way but he didn’t pay any mind to it. All he wanted was to be beside his heir.
His son was breathing as if he was plainly taking a nap. His little hands were laid on his stomach. His head was raised by a velvet pillow.
Gut-wrenched, the king held the boy’s hand, doing his very best to fight the tears. He wanted to cry but as king, he didn’t want to show any signs of weakness. However, he was breaking deep inside. The sight of his young child in a deep sleep was too much for him to bear. He’d prefer to be in his position, knowing that the kingdom would be better with the younger, future monarch.
“How long will he be asleep?” he asked his queen, not tearing his stare away from his child.
“The Medicine King said the day of his reawakening is unknown. The same was said for you, my love,” she explained gently, her hands on his shoulders. It was her husband who needed the comfort now.
“Tell him to do everything, to try anything, just to bring back my son.”
“As you wish, Your Majesty,” she whispered, slowly sitting beside him.
And with that, the king finally succumbed to his tears, weeping in the arms of his queen.

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