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Fool's errand

A High-ish Fantasy response to Matthew Fromm's Challenge

By Rachel DeemingPublished 7 months ago 3 min read
7
Fool's errand
Photo by Austin Lowman on Unsplash

"He wants you."

The Lord Chancellor interrupted my reverie, while I was tearing into my pork chop. I'd been hankering for one all evening at the banquet but, due to having to caper about amusing everyone, bells jingling, riddle-making and pulling faces behind people's backs, only now enjoying one. Jesting sounds easy, doesn't it? But it's hard work. And hungry work.

"Now."

He stood, staring at me, robed and serious, hands knitted together across his belly. He looked harassed and impatient despite his poise. I'd never seen him in the kitchen before.

Something was amiss.

"Chancellor, Chancellor? What can it be?

That brings you to seek out a poor fool like me?

The banquet is over, and you're all alone -

Looking for someone to suck on a bone?"

With this last line, I put the bone of my pork chop into my mouth, holding the end and sucked at it, slurping the gravy off it in a gesture that some may consider lascivious. There were many rumours around court about the Chancellor's tastes and I'm not talking about pork chops. I was off duty and tired and had been looking forward to relaxing.

Fat chance of that now.

He was suppressing his agitation. I don't think he appreciated my little rhyme. The redness of his cheeks told me that, as did the way he shifted from foot to foot.

"We don't have time for this, Fool," he said, quietly but with menace, his words tinged with fury. And was there something else? Worry?

"You need to come NOW!" This last word was barked. The veneer was cracking.

I don't often get nervous but my gut twisted at his words. I feigned nonchalance, sighing deeply as I got up from my cross-legged position by the fire and tossed the bone into the corner, where the kitchen cat sniffed it.

As we raced through dark corridors, torches blazing, I scanned my memories of the evening for indicators of trouble. Nothing sprang out but then I had been focused on my, for want of a better word, act.

His chambers were guarded as expected. I was let in by the Chancellor, the door closed firmly behind me. In a chair by the fireplace was a slumped figure - the King. I made my way to him and bowed deeply, knuckles grazing the floor.

I raised my head to look at him and he must have seen my shock as he smiled wanly.

"Poison," he uttered.

Not good. I went to speak but he shook his head.

"Listen!" Each word was a struggle but he was fighting. "Leave. You. Table." Gasp. "Scroll." Gasp. "Take." Gasp. Cough. "Now."

"Where?" I asked. Time was running out.

"Trysk." Gasp.

Dragon country? Shit.

"Deliver. Amanthia. Trust you." Gasp. Cough.

Silence.

Dead. Poor old bugger.

And we're in trouble. Big trouble. Because he's asked me, me, to deliver a message to the Dragon Queen of Trysk.

Me.

The Fool.

Adventure skills: none.

I ask: who's the Fool here?

***

The story above was written in precisely 500 words and as always with these challenges, it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I'm also not sure how "high" the fantasy is in this piece but I've always liked the presentation of the Fool as seemingly the idiot of the court but actually being the sagest there, or certainly a shrewd observer of human (or other life forms') behaviour. Think King Lear. Dragons are the staple of fantasy for me and would have to have a mention, even if they're not at the forefront, talking to us or wreaking destruction over the kingdom, although I could see that happening in a furtherance of this story.

I would like to thank Matthew Fromm for the challenge and you can find out about him and this challenge at the link below:

As always, let me know what you think. I am tempted to write more as I quite like the way this started out and have an idea of where I could take it but we'll see.

Thanks for stopping by!

MysteryHumorFantasyCONTENT WARNINGAdventure
7

About the Creator

Rachel Deeming

Mum, blogger, crafter, reviewer, writer, traveller: I love to write and I am not limited by form. Here, you will find stories, articles, opinion pieces, poems, all of which reflect me: who I am, what I love, what I feel, how I view things.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (6)

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  • Matthew Fromm7 months ago

    Entered into the challenge! great work.

  • Adventure skills: none! Sounds just like me, lol! I still don't know the difference between fantasy and high fantasy. Also, you did an awesome job with this story! I would loved to read it if you were to continue!

  • Veronica Coldiron7 months ago

    I literally could almost see this moment in the kitchen. LOVED the jester's personality too, because it would be both grating and soothing for sure. This is a good entry and hopefully the beginning of something! 😉

  • Hannah Moore7 months ago

    I want to join him on his adventure going forward - your characterisation is really good bait for wanting a bit more.

  • Celia in Underland7 months ago

    Bloody perfect. I loved this! Your presentation of the fool is spot on, I can really envision the character. You managed to cram a lot in to 500 words but I hope you carry on with it-I could read (and buy) a novel of this for sure! He could be a bit jung gu panda of the fantasy world 🤍 I haven't read much fantasy but as I'm reading the submissions, I am becomeing increasingly enamoured!

  • Alex H Mittelman 7 months ago

    Great story! And I’ll go, I have adventure skills!

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