The Elf King’s Thingy: Part II
Elsewhere, and earlier.
Assil, King of the Fae bellowed with drunken anger and hurled his tankard across the throne room. His aim was off, which spoke much of how drunk he was, for the King was a great hunter as all knew well. So, if pressed all would agree the king did not miss at all. He certainly did not miss the snivelling courtier who had brought the king ill news. So, when the badly aimed tankard stuck one a snoozing minor lord of the forest glades on his antlers, snapping off half of the left horn and waking the lord abruptly, that was surely what the King had aimed to do, as all would agree.
Indeed, all but the most foolish, should the question ever be asked, would agree this was indeed the passage of events with great haste, rather than be pressed…
The poor unfortunate abruptly woken minor lord stared around the room, caught sight of the red-faced rage of the king and ducked behind one of the living tree columns with far from undue haste. Centuries of experience had taught members of the court that when the king was angry it did not do to be conspicuous, for the next thing thrown might be somewhat sharper than a tankard.
“How in all the tormented bowels of Lucifer’s nine hells did this happen. I was assured the wards the spell weavers placed upon it prevented any of my lack witted subjects from even touching it.” Assil roared, while looking for something else to throw at the blur before him. A blur that had somehow avoided the bludgeoning blow he had rendered upon on it by being two rather fuzzy people at once. A state of affairs which only added to his anger as everyone else seemed to be blurry as well. As did the walls come to that.
It was, in truth, not as much a roar as a bellow of thunder. It shook the rafters. It loosed leaves from the canopy above the throne. It awoke several more of the various revellers from there stupors, who as one tried to find anywhere and anyone they could to hide behind. The favourite of such hiding places as ever being behind anyone else foolish enough not to be cowering themselves.
Stood as he was before the throne, the herald envied those who had the opportunity to get out of the firing line. He stood wringing his hands through the long-felt brim of the hat he was clutching to his chest, as if it might offer some protection. He was feeling somewhat small and defenceless in the centre of the court. A place rapidly becoming the loneliest place in all the Fae world. He felt like he was shrinking, which was because he was willing himself to do so, he was not sure it would be much help. Indeed, if the kings double vison cleared up it almost certainly would not be.
Regardless, The herald had a duty to perform, and not answering the King would not help his situation, so he took a breath, cringed in a respectful manner and tried to explain…
“Yes you mightiness, it is, erm, was, warded against all of the fae your magnificent Majesty, as were your instructions. Warded so that none of your subjects could ever touch it, by the greatest of all your spell weavers, you beneficence Majesty.” the herald said in his meekest voice, trying to sound the correct amount of afraid to placated his liege. This was a feat that required little in the way of acting as utterly terrified would be the best description of his current emotional state.
Assil roared once more, flailing out and sending a platter of roast boar crashing to the paving stones. In his rage he grabbed the next nearest heavy object and launched it at the herald. Fortunately for the herald the king’s aim was no better due to the amount of drinking that had been undertaken in the last few days. Unfortunately, another slumbering drinker was not so lucky and there was a loud yelp of pain from the back of the room.
The Kings irrational raging lasted a few minutes, while the herald cowered in the middle of the room, slowly shrinking before the king, and somehow being missed by the various object thrown vaguely in his direction. The few remaining slumbering courtiers that had slept through the early exchanges were all awake now. Many had fled to the corners, or found a way to make an expedient exit. Others who could not get past the morbid fascination of the crowd, fought between themselves for a good view of the herald and the king. While trying to dodge the objects being thrown around. In the general hubbub several minor scores were settled with the occasional elbow to the ribs, or punch in the back. While one older and somewhat for festering score was settled when Lord Bruntain was brained by another heavy tankard the king had thrown. How exactly he was brained by the object a full minute after the tankard left the kings huge hands and crashed into the wall behind him is a mystery only his arch enemy Earl Tallowick could have explained. But an old grudge was settled none the less, while the court was distracted.
Thus it ever was. The cut and thrust of the politics of the Elven court were quite often a literal cut and thrust, or at least a taciturn bit of bludgeoning at an opportune moment at any rate.
The King finally got his rage controlled for the moment, mostly because he had run out of things to throw, strode over to the herald and loomed over him. The anger beneath the surface obvious to all, because it was not all that far beneath the surface. The veins on the king’s neck bulged and throbbed an angry dark green. His eyes were burning red. Worse still he was growing larger by the moment. A sure sign of his anger, if any were actually needed, though even the most foolish of his subjects in the court were all too aware of it by now.
“So,” the king said his voice beguilingly soft but full of menace. “Tell me this, if the wards are in place, and no fae could touch it, how then has it been stolen herald?”
“Well… You see… Your magnificent majesty… Well… You see it’s…”
“Out with it you snivelling worm.” The king snapped, what little penitence remained to him worn thin as he towered above the herald.
“Well you see it wasn’t a Fae who stole it majesty, it was a human.” The herald explained, his voice growing even smaller before the looming king.
“What!!!” the king exclaimed.
“ A Human, A child of Adam, my lord.” The herald said. As he did so he thought for a moment the veins on the kings neck were about to explode in his rage. He though this only for a moment however, because the next thing that happened was the king punching downward with all his might.
Those who observed this in shadows of the court mostly agreed afterwards that this had not been an act of malice on the kings part. He had, they assured each other. Merely been punching the ground in his rage. An act of petulance one could forgive in ones lord and master. It was a pure coincidental that the herald happened to be in the way.
There was a little popping sound and the herald burst in to disbursement. Which was clearly, in the opinion of the court, his fault for bringing the king bad news. Besides, as they reminded themselves, he would reform in a century or so if he was lucky. If he was very lucky when he did reform he would avoid being give the job of herald again, they told themselves, so in a way the king had done the former herald a favour.
“Get me my lawyers!” the king yelled to everyone.
This led to a sudden scurry of activity among the courtiers. None of which had any great urge to hang around. Not least because someone was about to get the newly vacant position of herald. A state of affairs the normally disparate factitious members of the court all shared the same mind upon.
It was a job for some other poor sap…
Next week ( or possibly in a couple of days) the tale of ‘The Elf king’s Thingy’ will continue, elsewhere in an ‘ordinary’ teenage girls bedroom.
Authors note: This part work comprises of a first draft, without the usual editing, proof reading etc, It is somewhat raw because of this. There may be glaring errors, terrible typos and crimes of a grammatical nature. Feel free to point them out if your self-esteem requires a boost, you would certainly be proving your intellectual superiority over the author in doing so…