Mopbottom Got'um

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An Earl brings tribute to a mysterious king who makes war from the sky. What will happen now?

Submitted: August 13, 2016

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Submitted: August 13, 2016

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"HALT! Who goes there?" Was the question asked by a voice from the shadows?

"It is I, Lord Byron, Earl of Kendrick!"

"What is your business on this King's road and in the King's forest?" The mysterious voice demanded to know.

Lord Byron replied, "I bring tribute and seek an audience with your king. And who might you be?"

"I am Dyerod Mopbottom, the King's forest keeper and guard."

"Well, Mr. Mopbottom, come out of the shadows and greet me in a manner befitting a Earl.

With that said, an evenly proportioned and muscular man, of very short statue, moved slowly out of the shadows. And at that point he made a modest attempt to bow.

"You are a guard," Questioned the Earl? I would not have you guard my hen-houses," He exclaimed.

"Begging your pardon your Earl-ship, but isn't it the Kings business who he places his trust in?" Mopbottom questioned.

"I suppose," Stated the Earl, "But I find that it is an odd state of affairs."

"Maybe so Sire, but things may not always be what they appear to be," Mopbottom replied.

Then the Earl grunted something and asked, "Well, may I pass now?"

"I am sorry replied Mopbottom, there is the matter of your visit. Are you expected by the King's court and do you have a letter stating such?"

"Of course I don't, there was never any negotiations.

First, there was a Ariel attack by what looked like thousands of warriors seated on dragons. Then, several days later your King's list of demands were dropped from the sky by one of those warriors.

I bring this tribute on behalf of my Queen, Quentellia, The Brave, overseer of Morbetta and all the lands to the shores of the Darlinian Sea.

"Mopbottom cut him off and replied, "Ah yes, The Truce Tribute. It is given by all those kingdoms wishing to avoid a futile war with my King's Dragon Warriors. Just the name strikes fear into kings and queens alike."

"Well I don't know about that, but my Queen thought that peace and being able to retain sovereignty over her lands was a good exchange for a few thousand gold coins, grains, pelts, spices, textiles and other goods. Oh, and of coarse, your kingdoms citizens have the right of safe passage across our lands.

My queen found it a pleasant surprise when we received the tribute demand and found that it was not a crippling amount for our kingdom to pay, that and the fact that it is a one time payment. Considering the alternatives it made sense to comply.

"My King is a reasonable man, and besides, he already has wealth far beyond anything you could imagine.

Your tribute will be distributed to the poorest of our people. And quite frankly, it saves your queen the heavy expense of an un-winnable war.  It is a good bargain for all concerned," Mopbottom stated.

"Yes, yes, --- now may I pass," the Earl questioned?

Mopbottom replied, "As soon as I inspect the wagons. We wouldn't want any surprises, would we?"

This man, of no more than four feet tall, was surprisingly agile and had no problem moving about on the tall wagons.

After finishing inspection of the wagons, Mopbottom made another half-hearted attempt to bow, then he said, "You may continue, --- the main gate to the walls surrounding the King's Castle is but a mile beyond the edge of this forest."

The Earl and his guards, 12 to each side of the wagons, continued down the bumpy road.

The Earl's guards were stately men of at least six feet tall, muscled and armed with crossbow, sword, and sheath. Each one rode a horse of agile rearing and both were trained to move as one in battle.

Even with such a small tribute, the Earl and his Queen were not in the mood to lose any of the tribute to bandits; so only the finest knights were chosen to ride as escorts.

At last, the Earl and his troops were at the main gate.

And as they waited for entry they saw dozens of bows, with arrows at the ready, being aimed at them.

At that moment a voice was heard coming from the Rampart, "Who Goes there?"

I am Lord Byron and I bring tribute."

"Is that the tribute in the wagons?" asked the voice.

"It is," replied the Earl.

"And from whom does the tribute come?

The Earl stood in his stirrups and stated, "I bring this tribute on behalf of My Queen, Quentellia The Brave, overseer of Morbetta and all the lands to the shores of the Darlinian Sea."

Then the Voice said, "Leave the wagons and go!"

The Earl objected, "But I seek audience with your King!"

"The King cannot give an audience today! The King is busy in his War-Room making plans for another invasion.

Your Queen's tribute will be duly noted in the Kings Log. Now be gone before I lose patience with you. 

 

The Earl had little choices, so he reluctantly did as he was told. After some time he and his knights had passed through the forest and were going along the road that went through a mountain pass. At some point they heard a horn blow, but they thought nothing of it and continued on.

The Horn sounded an all clear from Mopbottom. And after blowing the horn he climbed aboard his Miniature-dragon and flew to the castle.

Upon arriving at the abandoned castle, once the pride of a long forgotten king, he was happy to see his tribe of Pigmies busily working.

"Are the wagons being readied for the icy conditions ahead?" Mopbottom asked a nearby worker.

"Yes my Lord, all will be ready within the hour. Two dragons will ride each wagon to maintain balance when needed."

"Good, there are treacherous roads that take us home to our valley between the mountains. 

 

Well, it seems that these people live in a valley, a valley that is seated in-between mountain glaciers. And in that valley, everything and everybody grows smaller than elsewhere; even their dragon pets.

But from the ground, seeing dragons with warrior mounted, it is very hard to know how big they really are.

And with a hundred dragon and warriors flying overhead, --- well, a panicked populace might think that they are being attacked by thousands.

Yes, Mopbottom and his people know that the mind always envisions the worst when danger is upon them. So all they need do is fly over a well protected castle and drop a few fire bombs on some straw piles and thatched roofs. Castles are not designed to defend against attacks from the air.

After a few days Mopbottom returns and drops a list of demands and a map showing where to deliver the tribute. If the people in the castle grounds believe what they think they saw, Mopbottom's Got-um. If not, oh well; there is always another castle.

 

D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  08-12-2016


© Copyright 2017 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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