Both king and ferryman sat silent as the merchant took a mug and pulled up a chair next to the fire.
“Did you bring back the old man?” Vick showed no interest in the conquest of his guest’s homeland.
“Well, I found the man, yes, but he’s been exhausted from the journey- with the whole detour and all that business about invasions and the such- so the last I saw him, he had slouched down for an afternoon nap under my cart.”
By now, with the news of his loss being treated as just another bit of gossip, the king finally rose to his feet, again knocking over his footstool and his chair along with it.
“My brother is dead? And my council? And what of my people!”
The merchant seemed slightly shocked that the king would bring up an old subject again, but he could tell from the king’s tone that it would not be left alone for some time, so he set down his mug and looked directly at the king.
“You are right with your first two statements, and your people have either followed the same fate as your brother, or they have been enslaved by some of the most ugly, evil beings that ever breathed. Do you intend to be captured as well? I don’t really see how it can be avoided at this point- with the fall of the lands to the far West, even farther than your land; and of course the North has been in captivity for some while- I don’t suppose that The Great White Wizard will be satisfied with his prize as it is.”
“So I’m to be taken captive as well?” the king sat down again.
“Ah, I rather hope not, which is why I’ve brought a friend- or rather he was sent to me by another friend.” And with that, the merchant stood and crossed to the door where he called out: “Donovan! It’s time to wake up and meet the king!”
There was a shout and a crash and then came an old man, covered in the same simple clothes as the merchant. His dark-brown eyes looked straight at the king, staring for one then two minutes before turning to the merchant.
“He’s a real muffin of a man, isn’t he? Not quite the impressive kingly figure that I had figured on. It’s a wonder he survived the Forest without the aid of his hand servants, but he’s the one I’ve come to retrieve, there’s no question about that. Why, if it weren’t for the stuffed cheeks and ample girth, I might even confuse him for his father.”
The king suddenly became quite conscious of his appearance, remembering that it had been three day’s journey on foot since his last bath, and it had been a long while since anyone had mentioned that he was not in the peak of physical form. But it was the comment about his father that took his mind off of his own poor image.
“Do I know you?” king asked Donovan.
“Well, you’ve never met me before in your life! But I work with your father, and you’ve got his image as much as to make me think I’ve known you for some while.”
“My father is a worm that left my brother and I after our mother died. I don’t know anything more about you, and I could care not to if you work with him. So tell me what you want of me and go back to him and whatever earth-eaters he deals with.”
“You foolish puppy, you’re father sent me to retrieve you.”
“Well then you’re just as wise as the old man himself if you think I’ll be going with you any further than this front door!”
“Don’t be a mindless troll about this!” interrupted the merchant, “If you don’t go with Donovan, you’ll be made a slave under some of the foulest things on the earth- or under it.”
Donovan moved towards the king. “I’ll tell you all that’s happened on the way, but you really haven’t got much of a choice.”
The king, resigned to the arguments of the better informed, nodded his head to accept.
“We leave as soon as I’ve loaded the boat.” Donovan indicated that the merchant should help him pack.
*** THE END OF PART ONE ***
Thanks for following this first part of my new tale. I would love to hear from you about your thoughts, what you think could have been improved, what you enjoyed the most, and anything else you might have to say. Some ways to do that are by leaving comments, emailing me, or even just rating each story with the stars located just after the story text, and before the comment section!
This is the first draft of this story, so much editing will be done before I release a revised draft, and then the second part. If you have enjoyed this story, be sure to share it with everyone you know, after all, it’s free!
Thanks again, and I hope you’ve enjoyed Part One. I’ll be back in a week with the beginning of Part Two, so until then, happy reading!