This story was written in response to The Red Dress Club prompt “We’d like you to write about what your character wants most.” I already had this in my head from several years ago… it was one of the very first stories I wrote about Kingdom Come. I’ve posted a few shorts on Kingdom Come before, and Charity has been mentioned at least once.

Charity was the first character I wrote about in this world. I know a lot of things that happen in her life, but they don’t necessarily fit neatly in a book. So, I play with her, and she ends up doing some cameos in the other stories. At some point I might write either her story, or one of her stories.

After writing this, it looks like it is more of an introduction to her story than a short story in itself. Please give constructive criticism… If this is your first time visiting my blog, was this short piece just odd and confusing? Did you want to find out how her story turns out? If you’ve visited before, did reading this remind you of Charity’s Ball, which I wrote a few weeks ago? Do questions spring up in your mind (Oligarchy? Dukes?) and if so, do they leave you confused and frustrated? Or do those questions make you want to turn the proverbial page to get them answered?

I am so involved in this world that it is difficult for me to see the forest for the trees. Feedback is appreciated!

You can follow Charity on twitter @CharityKochsato

You can follow me on twitter too! @USNessie

Love of Charity by AmyBeth Inverness

“Oh, my darling, they have to love you!” said Charity’s mother with a beatific smile, adjusting her daughter’s bridal veil. Charity chose to assume her mother meant “You are so beautiful, and so wonderful, they will fall in love with you at first sight!” even though she knew that what her mother really meant was “Don’t worry about the fact that you’re unlovable. It is an arranged marriage, and a political one, and it is their duty to love you anyway.”

Charity was grateful to the professional make-up artists and stylists who were on hand to make sure she and her fiancés were all beautifully coiffed and dressed. It had been more than a year since the planet had witnessed the commitment ceremony for a duchy. And this particular duchy was particularly noteworthy as it was brand new; lands that the Kingdom had just opened up as part of a rigid schedule of growth.

Charity was honored to have been selected as the Violet Duchess. Yes, she was qualified. Yes, she had demonstrated her dedication to the Kingdom through both her position as a researcher for the office of human services, and the volunteer work she loved. But many worthy candidates were passed over time and time again, for no greater reason than they didn’t fit with the other seven in the oligarchy.

Charity wondered how she fit. Over the past few months, she had communicated with the other seven, doing a delicate dance of trying to get to know each other while still being politically correct. The White Duchess To Be had been particularly warm and welcoming, and yet when Charity looked back, she realized that the words were all the kind of non-committal nonsense she had heard from politicians all her life. The Blue Duchess To Be and Brown Duchess To Be seemed sincere, though brief.

The men were slightly more forthcoming. The Red Duke To Be had sent flowers to each of them the same day that they all received their offers. He had even travelled across the Kingdom in the months before the wedding, greeting each of them personally in their far-flung homes. The Green Duke To Be had been more reserved, responding to each message with a prompt, personal response. The Grey Duke To Be had shown just a hint of humor, which Charity thought was unusual for a person in the financial field. The Black Duke To Be was rather young, even younger than Charity, though quite accomplished. Although his communications had been polite and friendly, she got the impression that he was nervous, or perhaps intimidated at the idea of being appointed to such a prestigious position at such a young age.

Charity herself had responded promptly to each note or gift from her intendeds, and the day after receiving (and promptly accepting) the offer of the duchy, she had hand written each of them a note on real paper, enclosing a pressed flower in the color that matched their station. She had picked and pressed the flowers shortly after completing her candidacy requirements, and placed them in her hope chest not knowing whether or not she would ever have a reason to take them out.

The flowers symbolized to her that the oligarchy to which she aspired was more than a political arrangement. It was a marriage in every sense of the word. She would live with these people, raise children with these people, and love them.

Charity had no doubts about her ability to give love.

Charity had every doubt regarding whether she would ever receive it.

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